One year after it was completed by University of Toronto law professor Martin L. Friedland, the results on an independent study on Access Copyright and royalty distribution system has been released [
the report was emailed to me; I have not seen an online version]. The report is a stunning indictment of the copyright collective, calling for dramatic change in governance, transparency, and royalty distribution practices. Friedland begins by noting:
I have undertaken a number of other public policy studies over the years, including such reasonably complex topics as pension reform, securities regulation, and national security, and have never encountered anything quite as complex as the Access Copyright distribution system. It is far from transparent. Very little is written down in a consolidated, cohesive, comprehensive, or comprehensible manner. There is no manual describing in detail how the distribution system operates.
The report continues by examining the history of Access Copyright, comparing it to other collectives, and identifying inequities in the distribution structure. For example, it reveals that "in the distribution for 2005 under the federal government licence, the publishers received $188,256 for scholarly journals and the creators received nothing."
The report includes 20 recommendations for change, which include: