Copyright deal crucial for students 2012-06-08


“University administrators are days away from deciding whether or not to sign a controversial new copy-right agreement that critics say would mark a huge step backwards at precisely the time when such institutions should be embracing the future. Carleton University and the University of Ottawa are both mulling a deal modelled on one struck this spring between the Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada (AUCC) and non-profit licensor Access Copyright. In theory, it's designed to ensure creators and publishers are paid fairly for the use of their copyrighted print and digital material, and to shield institutions from costly infringement lawsuits. But critics claim the legal risk of not signing such an agreement is low and is instead a red herring being used to coerce schools in-to entering a regressive deal that takes money out of students' pockets unnecessarily to pay for rights that are al-ready covered. Underpinning the debate are drastic changes to Canada's Copyright Act, which the federal government is expected to pass before the House of Commons rises for summer recess, and the wide-scale shift to open access on-line. ‘This is the wrong deal at the wrong time,’ said Michael Geist, a law professor at the University of Ottawa, an ex-pert in intellectual property law and a Citizen columnist. ‘We're just at the moment when the laws are changing, when the way education functions is changing, and all of these things move us away from Access Copyright, not for it.’ The model licence would see universities pay Access Copyright an annual, $26 fee for every full-time student (in most cases, the amount would be paid by students as part of the mandatory fees universities charge)... The new deal has several sticking points. Students and researchers, for ex-ample, would no longer be allowed to catalogue and store journal articles in personal libraries. They wouldn't be able to store materials on networks other than those operated and controlled by universities, such as USB drives, email accounts or online storage websites. They would, however, be protected for posting a hyperlink to a digit-al copy, even though the Supreme Court of Canada has ruled there is no liability for linking to content (and therefore no need for such activities to be licensed). Following a 2004 Supreme Court of Canada ruling that hugely strengthened the notion of ‘fair dealing,’ which essentially means a person can copy works without per-mission or payment as long as it is fair to do so, Carleton adopted a new policy of ‘fair dealing’ when the previous licence expired in 2010. University President Roseann Runte said the school hasn't made a decision yet, and is currently get-ting legal advice and watching what other universities do. ‘It's not that we just copy all the other institutions, but if you are the only institution in the country that does some-thing that nobody else is doing, you could end up being a lightning rod,’ she said. But neither Carleton nor the University of Ottawa - which, according to a spokeswoman, is also weighing its options - would be alone. In fact, York University and the University of British Columbia have opted out of the deal, as have sever-al smaller schools. UBC opted out of the deal even though its president, Stephen Toope, chairs AUCC's board. At press time, five other schools had signed agreements with Access Copyright, including the University of Toronto. In announcing the model licence agreement with Access Copyright, AUCC president Paul Davidson called it "the best possible outcome for universities, their students and faculty...”



08/16/2012, 06:08

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Open Access Tracking Project (OATP) »

Tags: oa.licensing oa.comment oa.legislation oa.copyright oa.societies oa.students oa.litigation oa.fair_use oa.fees oa.york.u oa.canada oa.access_copyright oa.aucc oa.ubc oa.u.toronto oa.carleton.u oa.u.ottawa oa.libre



Date tagged:

06/08/2012, 13:13

Date published:

06/08/2012, 13:37