Letter to the Editor: Nov. 3, 2011
Re: “Surviving without Access Copyright,” Oct. 7, 2011
BAJ Visser correctly identifies the confusion and chaos facing many post-secondary institutions. However, there are many misleading statements made by MRU’s copyright advisor, Rebecca Cleaver.
Ms. Cleaver refers to a misconception that fees have increased from $3.38 per student to $45. This is misleading. Previously, students paid anything from $3.38 to over $200 per year in royalties. This included a flat fee plus 10 cents per page when protected works were included in coursepacks. That quickly adds up.
Access Copyright has offered instead to blend the flat fee and the per page fee into one. Students would no longer pay the per page fee each time they buy a coursepack. The proposed tariff also includes digital scanning and posting, a growing practice not currently paid for.
Ms. Cleaver also states that “There was also an issue about being double-charged.”
Access Copyright does not, and never has, proposed to charge for works that are already paid for or authorized. In the past, institutions self-determined what royalties they had to pay for when coursepacks were made.
Access Copyright had no idea what licences were already in place that would have authorized the copying being reporting. The tariff process will identify works for which there is no other licensing arrangement or other exception under the Act.
The Copyright Board, a quasi-judicial body that, like a court, hears evidence and delivers a pondered decision, will listen to all sides of the debate and will take into account content that is already licensed (such as through university library subscriptions) and copying that is already authorized under the Copyright Act. There will be no so-called “double payment”.
In regard to privacy concerns, Ms. Cleaver and the university are sadly misinformed when they characterize the need for usage reports as raising “huge privacy concerns”. The manner of how we get usage reports in a digital environment needs to be negotiated between the parties or will be determined by the Copyright Board.
The intent is to identify the works being copied so that royalties can be paid to the creators and publishers whose works are copied in post-secondary institutions instead of purchase. Access Copyright remains willing to discuss the least intrusive way to accomplish that.
Exec. Director, Access Copyright