Archive for July 27th, 2011

An Unofficial FAQ on Canadian Universities Opting-Out of Access Copyright

With many Canadian universities opting-out of the Access Copyright interim tariff, I have been receiving a growing number of questions and emails from faculty members at schools across the country inquiring about the implications of the opt-out. All universities should be updating their faculty and students on the copyright changes including why the changes are occurring and what they will mean for research and teaching. In the meantime, however, posted below is a very unofficial FAQ that provides my answers to some of the questions I’ve received:

My university has operated under an Access Copyright licence for years. What has changed?

The shift away from Access Copyright marks the culmination of years of technological change within Canadian education that has resulted in new ways for professors to disseminate research and educational materials as well as greater reliance by students on the Internet, electronic materials, and portable computers. Ten years ago, photocopy licences made sense since physical copies were the primary mechanism to distribute materials. The availability of a wide array of materials from alternative sources, many discussed below, allows educational institutions to reconsider the Access Copyright approach.  

Moreover, just as technology was facilitating alternative ways to access course materials, Access Copyright upped its licensing demands. In 2010, it filed a proposal for a new $45 fee per full-time university student. For universities accustomed to far lower costs, the demands threatened to add millions to already tight budgets. This year it forced universities to engage in costly reviews of all licensing arrangements, which took weeks for many institutions to complete. The overall effect of these demands has led universities to reconsider whether spending millions on the Access Copyright licence is necessary and whether the same money might be better spent increasing the size of their collections or adding new site licences to more electronic materials.

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July 27, 2011 84 comments News