Thursday, 13 July 2017

Good News for Creators and Publishers in Canada

Well this is happy news.

For several years there has been dismay among writers, illustrators, publishers, et al because of the reimagining of the copyright laws by educational institutions, who were essentially allowing themselves out of paying creators and publishers fairly for their work. At last the federal court has ruled against the practice, as we heard from Access Copyright yesterday. And bravo to that, say I.

I will not labour the point. Hundreds have explored it more fully than I am able to. But I will say that where I of course sympathize with cash-strapped schools, their ways of trying to get around the deficits too often fall on the shoulders of the very people who make those schools great--from creators and publishers, in this instance, to employees such as sessional instructors, who are ill-used six ways to Sunday.

Perhaps in these enlightened times we can start funding education, health, and the like to the extent that over-zealous (or panicked) administrators will be less destructively creative in their attempts to economize.

Here's the poop from Access:

Access Copyright is pleased that the Federal Court of Canada upheld the rights of creators and publishers with its judgment on fair dealing which has helped to clarify its application in the context of the educational system.
On July 12, 2017, the Federal Court issued its decision in the action between Access Copyright and York University.  Access Copyright, a copyright collective that represents the creators and publishers of printed and digital works, brought the proceeding in the Federal Court to uphold the rights of its members.
The legal decision, which is the first to review the Fair Dealing Guidelines adopted by the education sector, in this case York University, concludes that “York’s Fair Dealing Guidelines are not fair in either their terms or their application.”
The Court concluded that the guidelines do not meet the test for fair dealing established by the Supreme Court of Canada.
The Court also found that tariffs are mandatory and confirms that, “There is no opting out.”
The Court noted that, “There is a mutual dependence between libraries/professors and the copyright regime which may suggest that a better system of protection and more certain criteria (such as in a licence or in a tariff) would assist all parties interested in education and access to educational materials.”
 “The Court struck the right balance between the public good that is education and the need to reward creators to ensure that this public good continues to be well supported by quality Canadian content. Up until today, the state of the law regarding fair dealing left creators and the institutions that copy copyright protected works in a state of uncertainty.” said Roanie Levy, CEO & President of Access Copyright. “This decision will help the parties understand what can be done and paves the way to re-establish stability and royalties to creators.”
Access Copyright would welcome the opportunity for all interested stakeholders to entertain a meaningful dialogue with a view to resolving any outstanding issues between them and establish a relationship that emphasizes the common ground between those who create and those who teach and learn.

“This does not have to be a zero sum game.” said Cameron Macdonald, Chair of the Access Copyright Board of Directors. “We – creators, publishers and educators – have an opportunity and responsibility to serve the considerable common interest between content creation and education.”

Read the full decision here.

Roanie Levy
CEO & President
Access Copyright
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Images: "Model writing postcards" (1906)Carl Larsson [Public domain or Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
Русский: Это ремикс, выполненный к женскому празднику.Есть "в кривых" Coreldro. By Astrofilosof (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

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