Students and teachers object to Access Copyright cash grab.

From the CAUT web-site, Ottawa, August 12, 2010.

(Thursday, August 12, 2010) – Students and teachers say that a tariff being proposed by Access Copyright – an organisation that licenses literary works to businesses and public institutions – would infringe privacy rights and burden students with tens of millions of dollars in new fees each year.

Access Copyright proposed the tariff to Canada’s Copyright Board this spring – the Canadian Federation of Students (CFS) and the Canadian Association of University Teachers (CAUT) filed a joint objection yesterday. The Canadian Internet Policy and Public Interest Clinic will be representing the CFS and CAUT before the Copyright Board.

“The excessive fees sought by Access Copyright would unfairly burden students and the public post-secondary system,” said Dave Molenhuis, National Chairperson of the Canadian Federation of Students. “The proposal treats students as cash cows and ignores the fair dealing rights granted through the Copyright Act and affirmed by the Supreme Court of Canada.”

The proposal would license the reproduction of copyrighted works at participating post-secondary institutions from 2011 to 2014. Under the current tariff, institutions pay a flat fee of $3.39 per full-time equivalent student, plus ten cents per page copied for use in a course-pack. The proposal would eliminate the per-use fee, and impose a flat fee of $35 for college students and $45 for university students – an unjustified increase of between 350 and 400%.

In addition to increasing the amount of the tariff, the proposal would also greatly expand its ambit and require institutions to provide Access Copyright direct and unfettered access to all property, digital or physical, including institutional e-mail accounts, in order to surveil the use of literary works.

“Here we have a licensing agency asking for sweeping new powers that would require institutions grant unfettered entrance to universities and colleges, including direct access to faculty, librarian and student e-mail accounts, to monitor what’s being used,” said Paul Jones, a CAUT copyright expert.

“The tariff overreaches to the extent that it attempts to redefine copying to include simply posting a hyperlink to an already publicly available online article, and to double dip by charging for the use of works already paid for by the institution,” he added.

The joint objection filed by CFS and CAUT is available here.

The CFS is Canada’s largest student organisation, uniting more that one-half million students in all ten provinces.

CAUT is the national voice of more than 65,000 academic and general staff at 121 universities and colleges across Canada.

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