University Of Calgary Refusing To Pay Access Copyright Any More

from the breaking-out-of-the-stranglehold dept

We’ve written a bunch about Canadian copyright collecting society Access Copyright, which gets universities to pay up for a license to cover people photocopying educational material. The organization doesn’t really distribute very much of its money to content creators and yet it’s been seeking a massive 1,300% increase in fees — and Access Copyright claims that even if professors just link to copyrighted content, they have to clear that through Access Copyright.

Not everyone believes that’s the case. The University of Calgary has said that the new fees are way too high, and it will no longer use Access Copyright at all. Instead, it will seek to clear any copyrights directly, when needed, or otherwise encourage professors to link to material online that students can use. It will be interesting to see if Access Copyright challenges the university for doing so. How much do you want to bet that Access Copyright will now be snooping around, looking for a professor who fails to properly clear a photocopy somewhere.

Update: Looks like York University is about to do the same thing.

Filed Under: , ,
Companies: access copyright

Rate this comment as insightful
Rate this comment as funny
You have rated this comment as insightful
You have rated this comment as funny
Flag this comment as abusive/trolling/spam
You have flagged this comment
The first word has already been claimed
The last word has already been claimed
Insightful Lightbulb icon Funny Laughing icon Abusive/trolling/spam Flag icon Insightful badge Lightbulb icon Funny badge Laughing icon Comments icon

Comments on “University Of Calgary Refusing To Pay Access Copyright Any More”

Subscribe: RSS Leave a comment
48 Comments
DannyB (profile) says:

Re: Copyright scam artists.

> Access copyright [is] praying on students and universities

I think prayer has nothing to do with it. I don’t think Access copyright is religious. Even if so, I don’t think their prayers would be heard.

Their praying won’t be heard for students and universities.

They’re preying on the herd of students and universities.

Alien Bard says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Copyright scam artists.

Like the Associated Press? I admit it’s a bit annoying sometimes but I’d rather eat my own words then let a jerk get off the hook (or make someone else look bad by changing the original wording after the response). Also, there is a preview button which should help avoid any serious mistakes. And finally, most people here are very tolerant of mistakes – though they may sometimes tease a bit.

Anonymous Coward says:

Finally!

Nice to see a university administration finally having the guts to stand up to these shakedown artists. Now maybe they can stand up to the shakedown artists running the expensive academic journals. How about the textbook shakedown artists? Then for an encore, they could stand up to the shakedown artists who run the patent system.

Pretty soon, we will have such an outbreak of common sense and decency, we will not know where we are. Nah, can’t happen.

Richard (profile) says:

Re: Finally!

Pretty soon, we will have such an outbreak of common sense and decency, we will not know where we are. Nah, can’t happen.

Don’t be so sure. Firstly – although we continually complain that politicians are in the pay of the content industry – we may be subtly wrong. It is possible that they are scared of the content industry – because of course it includes the press – which has the power to break their careers.

However if the content industry becomes discredited this may change. Look at what has happened to Murdoch in the UK.

Politicians who used to turn up at his parties and accept his hospitality are now queueing up to slag him off. Even a few weeks ago nobody thought that that was possible – but now it has happened.

Nicedoggy says:

What I don’t understand is why Universities don’t make an open-education project for teaching material, they certainly have the human resources to do it and I believe every university today have internet.

They could use something akin to OSS Watch but for their educational material where they possible can.

They could also use material from others that are open like MIT OpenCourseWare

Rikuo (profile) says:

So we have a collection agency that has suddenly ratcheted up their prices and are looking to collect rents from places they have no business collecting rent from, and are not paying the actual content creators their fair due.
Good thing the Spanish police investigated these scumbags and found out they were committing fraud to the tune of millions…
Sorry, I mis-read the article. This is about some university thing, not those Spanish guys who were basically doing the exact same thing.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: It's about time

Then you could sit around and listen to fine music from Cory Smith and that kid down the street who looks like he hasn’t had a shower in 6 months.

You want to get the RIAA to go away? Stop listening to the radio, stop listening to commercial music, stop watching TV, Movies, and anything else with related content on it. Stop it all. Don’t visit any website that pays them. Don’t consume the product at all ever.

I dare you to try. When you cut it all out, you will realize how much you value it. But I seriously dare you to try.

Alien Bard says:

Re: Re: It's about time

I’ve been doing that for fifteen years and don’t miss it a bit. We have a piano for music and the internet for news. Unfortunately, I do like to sing happy birthday to my kids and it pisses me off that I’m now expected to pay royalties for a ‘privilege’ that’s been a family tradition since before I was born.

The point is that you are correct – that stuff has very little value and our societies would be much better off without an industry based on it.

PaulT (profile) says:

Re: Re: It's about time

“Then you could sit around and listen to fine music from Cory Smith and that kid down the street who looks like he hasn’t had a shower in 6 months.”

Ah, we’re back to you pretending that no good music can possibly be made without corporate shakedown and protection schemes. Do you roll dice to choose which tired talking points, proven incorrect on multiple prior occasions to focus on, or does the switch come naturally?

“Stop listening to the radio, stop listening to commercial music”

I did. The RIAA forced the services I was using to listen to independent music (Pandora, eMusic, AmieStreet) to either go out of business or stop servicing me. Now, I listen to more podcasts than music, although I certainly go non-RIAA whenever possible for the music I do listen to.

“stop watching TV, Movies, and anything else with related content on it.”

Sadly, it’s impossible to completely avoid RIAA content. My local bars usually have one of the MTV channels playing top 40 music in the background, for example. I can’t change my social life completely just because some corporations annoy me with their actions. That doesn’t mean they can force me to pay for their content directly, though.

“When you cut it all out, you will realize how much you value it.”

Ah personal opinion masquerading as some kind of universal truth, again. Which number was that on your dice?

Anonymoose says:

Re: Re: It's about time

That’s exactly what I’ve done. There’s no shortage of non-RIAA music for free consumption on various web radio stations outside America. I do not watch television, nor do I bother with movies. I read, and listen to excellent music from places such as Nectarine.

Once you stop feeding at the trough, you see what horrible things you’ve been subjecting yourself to.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: It's about time

You make a great point. I’ve been doing this for more than a decade now, and it has clearly demonstrated how little value RIAA members are bringing to the table.

The odd thing is that I still listen to (and buy) lots of great, new music. Exactly none of it comes from RIAA members, which has improved the quality of my music collection tremendously. A much wider variety of music of skill and polish that typically equals and often exceeds that of the RIAA crowd.

Also, I actually enjoy paying for the music this way (in the bad old days, I cringed at paying for it) because I get to pay the artists directly, and I know they are getting the rewards for their hard work. Not so much with RIAA and big labels.

So I agree with you, everyone should do as you suggest. They’ll discover a world far richer and more wonderful than they thought possible.

Danny says:

My money says...

How much do you want to bet that Access Copyright will now be snooping around, looking for a professor who fails to properly clear a photocopy somewhere.

I’m betting they pull and RIAA/MPAA and start bribin…erm…lobbying the government to make some sort of laws that will bascially require universities to pay Access Copyright for access to content.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: What an Example

Access Copyright provided a service to the university; that is, making sure copyrights were cleared. The service provider jacked up their rates, and the university decided that it wasn’t worth the money.

If I paid someone $20 bucks to mow my lawn, and the next summer they wanted to charge me $600, I think I’d probably consider mowing it myself.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: What an Example

“Well they are certainly establishing a great example for the kids they are collecting tuition from….if you don’t agree, don’t pay.”

In all seriousness, that really is an important lesson to teach the students. The universities aren’t witholding payment for services already given — they’re making a determination that those services cost more than they’re worth and are therefore no longer using them.

Why is that a bad lesson? It’s an important life skill that too many people don’t have.

Anonymous Coward says:

For some reason many of the comments are comparing this to not paying for services rendered. This has nothing to do with refusing to pay for something already delivered. They are not refusing to pay for the service, they are simply refusing to PURCHASE the service.

To place the tuition comparison in it’s proper light… if tuition increased 600% for complete courses but not for individual classes, then many students would stop taking full courses and sign up for individual classes instead. They would still be paying for the classes, just not the additional cost of the associated group heading.

Opting out of a service is not the same as refusing to pay for services rendered.

wvhillbilly (profile) says:

Copyright abuse

In the US, claiming or trying to enforce rights not granted by copyright law constitutes the crime of copyright abuse, and one can get in big trouble by doing so. Requiring a license just to access copyrighted content it seems to me would fall squarely in this category.

If you have to get copyright clearance just to access copyrighted content you’d have to get clearance or have a license every time you access a Web site, open a book or watch anything on TV. I certainly don’t see any way this would fly in the U.S.A.

Add Your Comment

Your email address will not be published.

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here

Comment Options:

Make this the or (get credits or sign in to see balance) what's this?

What's this?

Techdirt community members with Techdirt Credits can spotlight a comment as either the "First Word" or "Last Word" on a particular comment thread. Credits can be purchased at the Techdirt Insider Shop »

Follow Techdirt

Techdirt Daily Newsletter

Techdirt Deals
Techdirt Insider Discord
The latest chatter on the Techdirt Insider Discord channel...
Loading...