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Copyright licensing changes could increase fees by over 1200 per cent

Copyright licensing changes could increase fees by over 1200 per cent

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The Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada is fighting changes to Access Copyright’s licensing system. Access Copyright previously charged the University of Saskatchewan and post-secondary schools nationwide $3.38 per full time equivalent student for the right to copy materials for course packs and handouts. They have proposed upping that rate to $45 per full time student as of Jan. 1.

“It’s quite a jump,” said copyright coordinator Amanda Storey of the tariff proposal. “It most likely won’t be certified at such a high rate.”

The AUCC immediately protested the increased rate, and the proposal has not yet been certified by the copyright board. The certification could take as long as two years.

For now, an undisclosed interim tariff has been certified.

“The presumption is the interim tariff will look very much like what we’ve been working with the last 14 years,” Storey explained.

The proposed tariff would be valid for the next three years, though the U of S may choose to stop operation with the tariff at any time. In an announcement to faculty and staff, the university expressed it hopes to operate outside of such a tariff as of August of this year, which would mean eliminating dependence on Access Copyright materials — this could make creative commons licensed and open access materials much more vital to the school.

“We aren’t bound to them if the $45 per student fee were approved,” said Storey.

The previous U of S Access Copyright licence agreement expired on Dec. 31. That agreement allowed teachers to copy any published work that Access Copyright had not specifically banned. The new system would only cover works in the Access Copyright holdings, which should be in line with current U of S offerings.

Teachers who copy material will be required to record what is copied for use in a course pack, even for digital materials.

Teachers will continue to be able to use materials for individual copies and course packs at this time.

Limits on portions of works that may be copied remain the same and the tariff covers both digital and physical reproductions. The current $0.10 fee per copy of a page on course package materials will remain in place to offset the tariff.

Previously, the Access Copyright fees were paid from a central fund, and will continue to be under the interim tariff. There are no expected operational impacts for the interim fee.

image: Danni Siemens

This post first appeared in The Sheaf - The University of Saskatchewan Newspaper Since 1912.

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