The Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada has issued its position paper on copyright reform. If the bill coming next week is as expected, Industry Minister Jim Prentice will be issuing a major rejection of the concerns of Canada's higher education community. The AUCC has listed four recommendations – no statutory damages where a person believes their use is covered by fair dealing, a limited anti-circumvention provision, an ISP safe harbour, and the creation of an exception for educational use of publicly available materials. The AUCC is likely to get only one of four (the ISP safe harbour provision, which is the top issue for the major telecom companies). The anti-circumvention provision will be far more restrictive than the AUCC recommendation, while the government will reject the call for a new education exception.
I continue to believe that the AUCC has blundered badly on the copyright file as it should have limited its demands to three – anti-circumvention, flexible fair dealing, and an ISP safe harbour. Instead, it wasted years calling for an ill-advised Internet exception and even today does not make the case for flexible fair dealing. That said, the government is taking a political risk since opposing education (and by extension the provinces) is unlikely to be a winner at the ballot box.
Update: Howard Knopf reports that the Canadian Association of University Teachers have adopted their position on copyright as well, focusing (rightly in my view) on anti-circumvention and fair dealing.