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CAUT Bulletin Archives

September 2012

Access Copyright Isolated

In the latest blow to Access Copyright, legal counsel for the Association of Canadian Community Colleges (ACCC) has advised against entering into a license agreement with the agency.

For many years educational institutions paid Access Copyright for the right to copy print material from academic journals, textbooks and other published works. But it looks as if recent developments, including amendments to the Copyright Act, pro-education decisions from the Supreme Court of Canada and innovations in scholarly communication, have render­ed Access Copyright’s business model increasingly obsolete.

In this context ACCC legal counsel identified “little value” in remaining in a relationship with Access Copyright — provided colleges adopted and implemented robust fair dealing policies. Fair dealing is the right to copy works without explicit permission or payment in certain circumstances. Courts have identified the existence of esta­blished institutional fair dealing policies or guidelines as a strong indicator of acceptable copyright practice.

ACCC’s move away from Access Copyright mirrors movement over the past year across the higher education sector. Since May, 19 universities have opted out of arrangements with the licensing agency. The list includes the University of British Columbia, Winnipeg, New Brunswick, Waterloo, Windsor, Saskatchewan, Guelph, Queen’s, York, Memorial, Carle­ton, Royal Roads and Athabasca. In the last month, Prince Edward Island, Simon Fra­ser and the University of Calgary joined the growing list.

A number of other institutions have indicated that as they im­plement fair dealing policies they too will sever ties with Access Copyright.