A Fair and Better Way Forward

A Fair and Better Way ForwardAuthor: Canadian Copyright Institute

Publication Date: Fall 2013

The 2012 amendments to the Copyright Act, combined with the Supreme Court of Canada decision in Alberta (Education) et al. v Access Copyright carved out a small but significant fair dealing allowance for schools. However, those amendments did not eliminate the need for collective licensing in educational institutions. Nor do they justify copying practices that will have a devastating impact on the market for published materials.

In their copyright guidelines, the Council of Ministers of Education, Canada (CMEC), the Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada (AUCC) and the Association of Canadian Community Colleges (ACCC) have adopted an aggressive legal approach. Ending the K-12 and post-secondary licences contradicts the clear language of the Court’s decision, and is incompatible with the evidence before the Court as well as with the Copyright Modernization Act. The guidelines push well beyond the loss of licence royalties, significant though that will be for many writers and publishers. They encourage wholesale cannibalizing of books, without permission or payment, and will ultimately expose teachers and their employers to more very expensive litigation.

So far, spokespersons for the K-12 and post-secondary communities have refused to talk.

We are open to reviewing and revising aspects of the licensing agreements, and negotiating new principles around fair dealing. This paper sets out our position, and a basis for moving forward.