Howard Knopf reports
that the Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada (AUCC) has filed an application to amend the Access Copyright interim tariff requiring it grant transactional or pay-per-use licences upon request. As I reported last month
, Access Copyright has been denying requests by universities for transactional licences in an effort to pressure universities to force them to licence all digital materials for a far higher price. This results in a remarkable situation where universities attempt to pay to use works and Access Copyright says it won’t take their money (though it does offer pay-per-use for corporate customers).
As universities begin the process of shifting toward greater use of pay-per-use licensing (along with other site licences and open access materials), the Access Copyright approach raises significant concerns. Indeed, according to AUCC
“this tactic is a gross abuse of the collective administration of copyright and an improper use of collective monopoly power.” In light of the Access Copyright actions:
“AUCC submits that, for the reasons that follow, Access Copyright has not approached negotiations of transactional licenses with AUCC and ACCC members in good faith and has instead engaged in misconduct. Therefore, AUCC hereby applies to the Board to amend the Interim Tariff to require Access Copyright to grant transactional licences to post-secondary educational institutions.”
Knopf raises the possibility of a Competition Bureau action if the Copyright Board declines to act.