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.

Filed Under: canada, copyright, objections
Companies: access copyright


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  1. icon
    Mike Masnick (profile), 1 Oct 2010 @ 3:41pm

    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/article s/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.

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