Access Copyright Trying To Stifle Objections To 1,300% Increase In Copying Fees for Students

from the can't-have-objections,-can-we? dept

Earlier this year, we wrote about how Access Copyright, the Canadian collection society that collects copyright fees from universities (who pass it on to their students) for people using photocopiers, wanted to increase its fees more than 1,300% from a few dollars to $45 per university student. It also would cover copying in areas that Access Copyright has absolutely no mandate over — including things like web links to copyrighted material. That original post was based on Howard Knopf calling attention to the issue, with a short deadline for people to submit objections.

Eventually 101 objections were registered, but the lawyer for Access Copyright is saying that 99 of the 101 should be relegated to lesser status since they don’t really count as they’re not “prospective users,” but just “affected parties.” That, of course, is a distinction without a difference. As Knopf notes in response to this, most of the “affected parties” AC wishes to minimize are students & teachers who will be even more directly affected by this policy change than the university organizations that AC deems worthy of objecting fully.

Even more troubling is the implied threat in the letter to objectors. Knopf explains:

On a rather ominous note, AC also sets forth what amounts to a direct threat to objectors and interveners, namely that “Finally, it is important, in our view, that all potential objectors and interveners understand that their participation means that Access Copyright will have the right to pursue any useful information that they may possess in pursuing this tariff through the interrogatory process of otherwise”. (emphasis by AC, not HK).

Certain major collectives have successfully used the interrogatory process to drive away well intentioned and legitimate objectors ranging from individuals to major corporations (i.e. Archamault and Canoe, which are part of Québecor) by demanding answers to intrusive and arguably irrelevant questions. See here and here.

It’s really a shame that AC would make that sort of implied threat to try to scare off objectors.

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Companies: access copyright

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Comments on “Access Copyright Trying To Stifle Objections To 1,300% Increase In Copying Fees for Students”

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18 Comments
Bob (profile) says:

Yes, but isn't this what everyone around here wants?

I would be annoyed at the price boost but I thought everyone around these parts loved the idea of some collective tool like this. All of my P2P loving friends keep talking about how cool it would be to have some collective bill that would be so much cooler and nowish. They forget that we’ve got rights collectives already and eventually someone has to crack down on the people who don’t pay.

Mike Masnick (profile) says:

Re: Yes, but isn't this what everyone around here wants?

I would be annoyed at the price boost but I thought everyone around these parts loved the idea of some collective tool like this.

Huh? I’ve never been in favor of a collective licensing tool.

http://www.techdirt.com/articles/20081209/0144083060.shtml
http://www.techdirt.com/articles/20090521/1714594965.shtml
http://www.techdirt.com/articles/20090901/0205586066.shtml

I’m always confused when commenters insist they know what people here want, and they almost always get it 100% wrong. So odd.

Josh Taylor says:

Looks like countries are going to be required to install surveillance cameras in homes around the world to monitor everyone’s personal and family activities even if it’s not internet related to determine whether it infringes copyright.

For example, if a child draws a cartoon character that is owned and trademarked by a media company, that child will go to prison. If a family member were to sing a copyrighted lyric in the shower, that family member will be put in prison. If families, friends, and relatives were to share discussions about their favorite show, cartoon, movie, or song, they will all be put in prison, too. If anyone make a sandwich or say the generic term “sandwich” if it were to be owned and trademarked by a fast food company, like McDonalds or Subway, will be put in prison for a lifetime.

Any such heavy and harsher anti-freedom copyright infringement law will silence our freedom of speech and will stifle a child’s freedom of creativity.

Any such copyright infringement law would also consider harsher punishments, such as putting a family name on a blacklist, so that a family member or the entire family will be denied to buy, rent, or live in a home. Family names that are blacklisted if under any such law would lose their bank account and/or be denied to open a bank account, not to mentioned be banned from the bank, lose a job and/or denied from getting a job, and banned from shopping centers, malls, supermarkets, etc.

Local homeless shelters, Operation Blessing, Orphan’s Promise, and other local orphanages will be forced to deny families and/or children to be taken in since they are on the blacklist.

The only place for families or family members to live would be a state or federal prison. Otherwise, they would be put down (in other words killed) because since family members with a family name that are on the blacklist would be denied to the right to live.

But Jesus will never deny a family or family member, because He’s always there with them even until the end. If you accept Jesus your personal Lord and savior, he will never deny you.

Anonymous Coward says:

Why Not Raise The Fee Again

So AC multiplied the fee by a factor of 14 and that worked brilliantly. Nobody in the university administrations raised a peep of protest. Sounds like a huge win to me. AC has found a bunch of suckers who will just pay anything they are asked, for nothing in return. It is a dream come true.

What is to stop them multiplying the fee by another factor of 14 next year? That would bring it up to $630 per student. Sounds very tasty.

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