Four months after the Supreme Court of Canada issued its landmark series of copyright decisions, a consensus on the scope of fair dealing has begun to emerge within the education community. While Access Copyright has been sending threatening letters to institutions that seek to rely on fair dealing with claims that the decisions are being misinterpreted, roughly similar policies have now been developed by K-12 school boards, community colleges, and universities that plainly reject the views of the copyright collective.
As discussed in my post on the ACCC fair dealing policy, the breadth of fair dealing raises obvious questions about the necessity of an Access Copyright licence. All educational institutions already spend millions on licensed materials. Indeed, the Access Copyright study on K-12 institutions found that 88% of copying was permitted without the need for either an Access Copyright licence or reliance on fair dealing. Given the scope of fair dealing as articulated by the Supreme Court of Canada, many are concluding that the Access Copyright licence offers little additional value to Canadian educational institutions.