January 28, 2022

Canada: Access Copyright is Suing York University For Copyright Infringement

UPDATE April 11: The Canadian Association of Research Libraries (CARL) “Condemns Access Copyright’s Lawsuit Against York University”

From Michael Geist:

Months after the Supreme Court of Canada delivered a stinging defeat to Access Copyright by ruling for an expansive approach to fair dealing and the government passed copyright reforms that further expanded the scope of fair dealing, the copyright collective responded yesterday with what amounts to a desperate declaration of war against fair dealing. In the aftermath of the court decisions and legislative reforms, a consensus emerged within the Canadian education community on the scope of fair dealing. The fair dealing policies used guidance from the Supreme Court to establish clear limits on copying and eliminate claims that the law was now a free-for-all.  In developing those fair dealing policies, however, many institutions no longer saw much value in the Access Copyright licence.

Read Geist’s Complete Blog Post

From a Statement by Access Copyright (PDF)

Access Copyright is taking legal action—on three fronts. The actions focus on York University, ministriesof education,school boards and post‐secondary institutions that copy—and promote the copying—of copyright‐protected materials without a licence.

Access Copyrightis a non‐profit,membership‐based organization that offerslicencesthat allow institutions and schoolsto copy frommillions of copyright‐protectedmaterials. It passes along the proceeds to the copyright holders—more than 10,000 writers, artists, and publishers across Canada. This helps to ensure high quality content in our classrooms.

“Today’s legal actions signal to institutions that we continue to strongly disagree with their interpretation ofthe law. Their copyright policies are arbitrary and unsupported,” says Roanie Levy,  Executive Director, Access Copyright. “In contrast, we thank all those institutions that have licences— your students and faculty embers are investing in their futures; in ideas, in reading and in literacy in Canada.

Read the Complete Statement

From a statement about the lawsuit from the CAUT (Canadian Association of University Teachers):

The association representing Canada’s academic staff is disappointed that Access Copyright, a licensing agency representing some authors and publishers, is suing York University for copyright infringement.

“New copyright laws and practices have rendered Access Copyright’s business obsolete and it is sad that they think they can revive it through pointless litigation,” says James L. Turk, executive director of the Canadian Association of University Teachers (CAUT). “In a world of direct licenses with content providers, open access publishing, and fair dealing, the organization needs to stop its ill-considered lawsuits and focus on finding a new rationale for existence.”

The post-secondary education sector spends hundreds of millions of dollars annually on copyrighted works. Increasingly, this money flows directly to large publishing companies through site licenses that sideline Access Copyright’s previous role as a marketplace broker. Growing emphasis on open access publishing where academics make their scholarly work available for free on the internet has further diminished the need for Access Copyright.

Read the Complete Statement

See Also: Canada: Access Copyright Names New Executive Director (December 13, 2012)

See Also: Canada: UBC Opts Out of Access Copyright Agreement (May 16, 2012)

See Also:  Canada: Copyright: Major Universities Will Not Renew Agreements With Copyright Clearinghouse (August 30, 2011)

About Gary Price

Gary Price (gprice@mediasourceinc.com) is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. Before launching INFOdocket, Price and Shirl Kennedy were the founders and senior editors at ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at Ask.com, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.