This series on misleading on fair dealing has placed the spotlight on the changing state of educational copying including the significant decline in book copying as part of coursepack materials and the gradual abandonment of print coursepacks in favour of digital course management systems (CMS). Other posts in the series examined the legal effect of the 2012 reforms and the wildly exaggerated suggestion of 600 million uncompensated copies each year.
This post highlights the massive education investment in e-book licensing. The shift to e-book licensing has significant implications for the fair dealing debate since it confirms that the decline of the Access Copyright licence is not the result of institutions seeking free access, but rather the gravitation toward alternative licences that offer better value for teachers, students, and the taxpayer.
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The changing state of course materials in education involves more than just increased reliance on alternative materials such as journal and newspaper articles. Yesterday’s post highlighted the significant decline in book copying as part of coursepack materials, but the data also consistently demonstrates that coursepacks are being abandoned in favour of digital course management systems (CMS)(previous posts in the misleading on fair dealing series on the impact of the 2012 reforms, the wildly exaggerated suggestion of 600 million uncompensated copies each year, and the decline of books in coursepacks).
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The misleading claims on fair dealing extend beyond the impact of the 2012 reforms and the wildly exaggerated claim of 600 million uncompensated copies each year. Given that educational institutions have increased their licensing spending since 2012, Access Copyright has sought to downplay the investment at the copyright review by arguing that site licensing is primarily focused on access to journals while copying for coursepacks predominantly involves excerpts from books. The implication of the Access Copyright argument is that book copying remains as relevant as ever and that site licensing does not cover that form of copying. These arguments are misleading, however, since the data suggests that book copying is rapidly declining as part of coursepacks, coursepacks themselves represent a small percentage of course materials, and books are in any event an increasingly large part of university site licensing. Posts over the next three days will address each of these issues.
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