Canadian Copyright Collection Group Access Copyright Declares War On Fair Dealing
from the that'll-go-over-well dept
We spent a fair amount of time last year writing about Access Copyright, the Canadian copyright collection group that collects fees from universities for photocopying, and then is supposed to distribute the money to various authors (it’s not always good at actually doing that). There were significant complaints because the group tried to massively increase its rates (we’re talking an increase of 1,300%), creating a big burden on students, often for no added benefit. There were some sketchy negotiations, and for reasons that still don’t make sense, a bunch of universities agreed to pay the crazy rates. Others, smartly, opted-out. On top of all that, around the same time, the Canadian Supreme Court ruled in a series of copyright cases where it protected fair dealing, especially when it came to education and research.
Apparently, rather than accept reality, Access Copyright has decided to declare war on fair dealing. As Michael Geist has detailed, Access Copyright is basically just trying to do an end-run around the law and the Supreme Court rulings.
Access Copyright has decided to fight the law – along with governments, educational institutions, teachers, librarians, and taxpayers – on several fronts. It has filed for an interim tariff with the Copyright Board in an effort to stop K-12 schools from opting out of its licence and it has filed a proposed post-secondary tariff that would run well after most Canadian schools will have opted out of its licence. Most notably, it has filed a lawsuit against York University over its fair dealing guidelines, which are similar to those adopted by educational institutions across the country. While the lawsuit has yet to be posted online, the Access Copyright release suggests that the suit is not alleging specific instances of infringement, but rather takes issue with guidelines it says are “arbitrary and unsupported” and that “authorize and encourage copying that is not supported by the law.”
Basically, Access Copyright lost entirely, but it’s still pretending that it won. Given the pretty decisive Supreme Court situation, you have to wonder what Access Copyright is thinking, other than “well, we know how to sue, so…” Meanwhile, of course, students suffer massively from this kind of crap. Overcharging students for education doesn’t do anyone any favors.