For immediate release
University of Toronto and Western University Decision
Impacts Canadian Creators and Publishers
The Canadian Authors Association deplores the U of T and Western decision to not renew their long-standing licences with Access Copyright.
Comprehensive licences with Access – a not-for-profit collective representing thousands of creators and publishers across Canada – have created win-win scenarios for both faculty and rightsholders: faculty are able to systematically collect and share resources with their students without worrying about infringing on copyright, and creators and publishers are fairly compensated for the use of their work.
Why aren’t they renewing? Recent changes to copyright law have laid the groundwork for differing interpretations of what constitutes fair dealing in the use of published materials for education purposes without the need to seek permission of the copyright holder or pay a royalty.
In other words, these educational institutions are walking away from an expansive licence that allowed for millions of pages of valuable content to be used in print and digital resource packages for learners. They appear to be interpreting fair dealing as a licence to assemble textbook-like collections from books and other works without compensating the very people who worked to make that content both valuable and available. How are creators and publishers expected to survive?
The universities say they will be ensuring that faculty and researchers make informed decisions when using the published work of others. They will also be ensuring that copyright-holders’ rights are appropriately respected. And they likely believe this promise. But faculty and researchers will ultimately have personal responsibility for their selections, and they will not always recognize infringement. They may be encouraged or expected to seek material outside of Canada’s creative pool, which will also negatively impact the Canadian publishing industry.
And when there is infringement, the onus of discovery, proof and possible litigation will be on the struggling creator or publisher. How fair is that?
Founded in 1921 to lobby for the protection of authors’ rights, the Canadian Authors Association is first and longest-running national writers’ organization. Nine decades later, the association continues to call for the fair and equitable treatment of writers and to help create opportunities for writers to flourish in their chosen field of endeavour.
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