This notice is being widely circulated from the President of the APLA, F.Y.I.:
Dear Presidents of the Universities and Colleges of Atlantic Canada:
The Atlantic Provinces Library Association (APLA) was dismayed to learn of
the agreement reached between Access Copyright and the AUCC. This is a bad
deal from several perspectives, including the following:
Existing Rights and Expanded Definition of Copying – The expansion of
activities defined as “copying” in the model license is of great concern.
The license requires payment for rights already granted under current
copyright legislation. For example, there are provisions within the Act
such as fair dealing that have allowed faculty and students to copy works
without permission or payment. Also, the license indicates that “posting a
link or hyperlink to a digital copy” is copying, which contradicts a recent
Supreme Court of Canada ruling (Crookes v. Newton). Further, institutions
are already paying heavy premiums to license digital content, the terms of
these licenses granting additional copying and sharing rights not covered by
current legislation. If institutions agree to the model license, they will
be paying for already existing rights, or paying double for extended rights.
Why would institutions want to do that? And what are the risks for the
future, once Access Copyright has been given this control over royalty fees?
Increase in Fees – The per FTE student fees have increased from $3.38 to
$26. The value offered for this money is questionable on two counts – the
decline of course pack printing in recent years (replaced by the use of
licensed and free digital resources), and the uncertain number of content
owners actually represented by Access Copyright. The argument has been made
that institutions should be paying less, not more. We agree.
Long Term Implications – Why would AUCC sign this agreement now with
Access Copyright? Bill C-11, the Copyright Modernization Act that is likely
to be passed soon, will expand the fair dealing rights that the academic
community currently enjoy. Copyright decisions pending from the Supreme
Court of Canada, particularly the K-12 case, may also have positive
outcomes. Universities and colleges do not need to pay for rights they
already own, and additional ones they may have in the near future.
APLA vigorously supports the position taken by the Canadian Association of
University Teachers (CAUT) on this model agreement and we urge you not to
sign on. It is perplexing that institutions of higher education would
consider paying unnecessarily for rights already belonging to them,
particularly at a time when post-secondary institutions are struggling to
balance their budgets. To sign now is to relinquish the fight before it is
over and at a very high price indeed.