As sent by Queen’s University Librarians and Archivists (QULA) to Provost and Vice-Principal Alan Harrison and University Librarian Martha Whitehead, 7 May 2012. See also CAUT, “A Bad Deal: AUCC/Access Copyright Model License Agreement” (17 April 2012) and Carleton University Graduate Students’ Association, Open letter on Access Copyright.
Dear Mr. Harrison and Ms. Whitehead:
We are writing to urge you not to sign on to the copyright agreement negotiated between the Association of University and Colleges of Canada (AUCC) and Access Copyright. Its terms and cost make it a bad deal for Queen’s students, faculty and libraries.
Queen’s University took a principled stand last year when its licence with Access Copyright expired on August 31, 2011. The university elected to create its own policy to ensure it operated under current copyright law and appointed a copyright specialist to guide the process and assist faculty and librarians with copyright issues. Since then, Queen’s librarians and technicians have worked diligently with faculty and the copyright specialist to implement the new policy. This new system has allowed Queen’s to operate effectively in accordance with the rights granted to educational institutions and researchers under the current Copyright Act and by making use of the database site licences already negotiated and paid for by Queen’s Libraries.
If Queen’s signs on to the AUCC/Access Copyright deal, it will undo all the hard work of the last year. The deal is both intrusive and expensive. It has reporting and surveillance requirements that are extremely questionable in an academic environment (see section 11 of the model agreement, for
example). It will also require the university or its students to pay a lot of money for many rights Queen’s faculty, students, and libraries already enjoy either under the current Copyright Act or through the database licences negotiated by Queen’s University.
Furthermore, this is an inappropriate time to sign any deal about copyright: copyright law is in transition as Canada moves to modernize its copyright law with Bill C-11, which is currently making its way through Parliament. This bill will clarify the law and give further rights to educational institutions. Signing this agreement before the bill becomes law will only give away rights that would otherwise freely belong to the academic community. A number of legal scholars and copyright experts have raised these and other concerns about the agreement.
We encourage you to support the rights of faculty and students at Queen’s – and at other universities and colleges in Canada – by declining to sign this costly, invasive, and rights-limiting deal proposed by Access Copyright through the AUCC.
Thank you for your consideration.
QULA Executive Committee
Laurie Scott (Chair)