Access Copyright Responds to Tariff Objections

Many people have written to note that Access Copyright, represented by Barry Sookman, filed a response to the many objections raised with the Copyright Board. Access Copyright argues that only educational institutions qualify as objectors in the proceeding.  It says all others – including student, teacher, and library groups – must apply to intervene in the case (and give AC the chance to respond to the request) or simply provide an opportunity to comment without formally objecting.


  1. Well from reading this, it would appear that Access Copyright is trying to limit the number of opponents by narrowly defining those affected by the tarif. Under their logic, the only individuals who should have full standing, are those who they license, not just those who will be directly impacted by the tarif. For instance, they want teachers, the Canadian Federation of Students, and provincial governments to be granted lesser standing, as they are not “directly involved” with the tarif negotiations. This is lunacy, as these groups do have a major stake in these proceedings. All this is is Access Copyright seeing the number of submissions opposed to their position, and trying the limit the impact that these opponents will have.

  2. I think teachers and student unions should be able to be official opponents to the tariff since they are affected by it. Just because the official licensor is the instruction doesn’t mean that the institution is the only one that should matter.

  3. I think anyone should be able to object. Copyright is public policy, and any decisions made can affect a lot of people down the road. We’re in a democracy. Nice to see Access Copyright trying to shut out important voices and the public from participating in the decision making process of public policy.

    I think if the board gives into this request, it may come under scrutiny itself by the public, and politicians. I guess we’ll have to see.

  4. Interestingly enough
    AC doesn’t consider copyright owners who object to qualify as objectors either (assuming there are any). Of course, were any to intervene on the side of AC, I can’t see AC objecting to them having full intervenor status đŸ˜‰

  5. Oh what a tangled web we weave
    A strong proponent, and I believe participating member of Access Copyright, who often posts on these boards, was quite upset that he could not post comments on the website [due to a technical oversight of the web developer], but did not seem concerned that the Access copyright did not allow comments on their site AT ALL.

    His complaint was Micheal Geist, by not attaching his former posts to the new site was participating in ‘critical disengagement’.

    Anyone who does not see the irony here, step to the back of the class.

  6. I think it’s quite ironic, and says more about why he posts here and the way he posts than I think he thinks it does.

  7. Robert Smits says:

    Time to Rein in Access Copyright
    Not only do they post this in a strange format ( but they want to restrict the ability of all Canadians to comment on or intervene in matters of Canadian Policy that affect them.A pox on their house!

  8. Now What?
    As one of those individual objectors, I’m now somewhat lost as to what happens next…do I get a chance to explain why I as a student, who will inevitably pay more money to get my degree should these proposals be accepted by the Board, explain how I would be impacted?

    Times about 300,000?

    Seriously, what happens now? The Board makes a ruling determining how much or how little I can participate?

  9. @Robert Smits
    That should be my post to google docs dude. Easier for me. Original blog post:

    I will intervene if necessary. I already have 2 policy investigations going on McGuinty and the Ontario Ministry of Education. More than willing to go toe to toe with the copyright board and putting Sookman on the hot seat if they end up being pricks here.

  10. Sookman “may” be in breach of “conflict of interest” laws as it is with his role in the copyright consultation. Access Copyright “should” be representing itself with the copyright board to save on overhead costs if they where to hold up their own mandate. I’m concerned here that money paid to Sookman to represent them in a routine policy proceeding isn’t going to creators.

    I’m an investigative journalist, and I’m very concerned how Access Copyright and Sookman have presented themselves here, and within the Copyright Consultations. I would be working on behalf of the public interest here, something that Geist has refused to do in the past, due to “reputation” issues in this debate. However he is coming around on several issues recently and debating with those on the other side, which is nice to see!

  11. @Crockett
    Mr. Degen is a known troll for Access Copyright. It’s one thing to shun comments on a private board, it’s entirely another to support an organization that is quite clearly trying to shut the public up on public policy with a bureaucratic institution the public is financially supporting and has a right to voice their concerns in.

    Either way this tariff will find itself in front of the Federal Appeals Court, which will result this time in a very public failure of the board to do it’s job properly and fairly. The Boards decisions need to be audited, and so does the system. Way too many decisions land in federal court because of this Board.

    Not only is Access Copyright answerable to the public, so is the Copyright Board. The decision made here might be a tipping point with respect to a legislative review on what’s needed to bring fairness into the system, starting with a staffing change!

  12. If there was any logical reasoning here by the board they would deny this request with a recommendation towards the courts and MP’s to clearly determine the definition of “fair dealing”, otherwise this Board will open up itself to a legislative review, and public scrutiny. They are “screwed” either way they rule on this. It will end up in Federal Court for appeal, with MP’s and the public watching their ruling. The system needs to chance, and I think this situation might bring about the change needed.