Archive for July, 2011

The Access Copyright Interim Tariff Opt-Out List

This week’s FAQ post on universities opting-out of the Access Copyright interim tariff generated several requests for a list of the schools that have either already opted-out or plan to do effective September 1st.  One reader passed along the following list, which may not be fully comprehensive, so additions or […]

Read more ›

July 29, 2011 24 comments News

What Does a Gigabyte Cost, Revisited

Earlier this year, I wrote a report and a blog post that attempted to estimate the cost for Canadian ISPs to transport a gigabyte of data. While there is nothing magical about a gigabyte, since overage charges typically levy by the gigabyte, it is useful to link actual costs with consumer costs that can reach as much as $10 per gigabyte. In fact, this data is likely to become increasingly important as the wholesale usage based billing battle has shifted toward a cost-based approach.

Unfortunately, there is little reliable information on actual costs with ISPs typically claiming that such information is a trade secret that should be kept confidential. My report noted that there are two elements to the actual costs. One is the Internet-facing data costs, which arise once a user’s traffic travels onto the public Internet. This cost is very low, estimated in the report at about one cent per GB and falling. This is consistent with public transit arrangement pricing and is likely even cheaper for large ISPs that use peering arrangements to cover off most actual costs.

The more difficult calculation involves the internal ISP network leading to the public Internet. As CRTC Commissioner Candice Molnar noted during the usage based billing hearing, “we all, I think, can hopefully agree that there is no marginal cost to using the network when you are not causing augmentation.” While there are no marginal costs, there is a capital cost of building the network and ongoing maintenance and augmentation costs when congestion arises due to traffic growth. My report used Bell’s data in the deferral account case (one of the only ones to put information on the public record) to estimate that seven cents per gigabyte (for a total of eight cents) was a best guess among a range of possibilities.

Read more ›

July 29, 2011 46 comments News

An Unofficial FAQ on Canadian Universities Opting-Out of Access Copyright

With many Canadian universities opting-out of the Access Copyright interim tariff, I have been receiving a growing number of questions and emails from faculty members at schools across the country inquiring about the implications of the opt-out. All universities should be updating their faculty and students on the copyright changes including why the changes are occurring and what they will mean for research and teaching. In the meantime, however, posted below is a very unofficial FAQ that provides my answers to some of the questions I’ve received:

My university has operated under an Access Copyright licence for years. What has changed?

The shift away from Access Copyright marks the culmination of years of technological change within Canadian education that has resulted in new ways for professors to disseminate research and educational materials as well as greater reliance by students on the Internet, electronic materials, and portable computers. Ten years ago, photocopy licences made sense since physical copies were the primary mechanism to distribute materials. The availability of a wide array of materials from alternative sources, many discussed below, allows educational institutions to reconsider the Access Copyright approach.  

Moreover, just as technology was facilitating alternative ways to access course materials, Access Copyright upped its licensing demands. In 2010, it filed a proposal for a new $45 fee per full-time university student. For universities accustomed to far lower costs, the demands threatened to add millions to already tight budgets. This year it forced universities to engage in costly reviews of all licensing arrangements, which took weeks for many institutions to complete. The overall effect of these demands has led universities to reconsider whether spending millions on the Access Copyright licence is necessary and whether the same money might be better spent increasing the size of their collections or adding new site licences to more electronic materials.

Read more ›

July 27, 2011 84 comments News

York Latest To Opt-Out of Access Copyright as Schools Seek Flexibility

Canadian university and college campuses are quiet at this time of year, but in recent weeks many have been making noise by transforming the way professors and students access and license course materials. For years, schools paid an annual per student fee to Access Copyright, a copyright collective that licenses photocopying and the creation of print coursepacks. Starting in September, many of Canada’s top universities will no longer use the Access Copyright licence, opting instead for a more flexible, tech savvy alternative. The latest to announce that it is opting out is York University, which sent a notice to faculty yesterday.

My weekly technology law column (Toronto Star version, homepage version) notes the shift away from Access Copyright marks the culmination of years of technological change within Canadian education that has resulted in new ways for professors to disseminate research and educational materials as well as greater reliance by students on the Internet, electronic materials, and portable computers.

Read more ›

July 26, 2011 25 comments Columns

Canadian Universities Switch to Tech Savvy Alternatives

Appeared in the Toronto Star on July 24, 2011 as Canadian universities switch to tech savvy course alternatives Canadian university and college campuses are quiet at this time of year, but in recent weeks many have been making noise by transforming the way professors and students access and license course […]

Read more ›

July 26, 2011 Comments are Disabled Columns Archive