The Access Copyright Interim Tariff Opt-Out List

This week’s FAQ post on universities opting-out of the Access Copyright interim tariff generated several requests for a list of the schools that have either already opted-out or plan to do effective September 1st.  One reader passed along the following list, which may not be fully comprehensive, so additions or corrections are welcome.

1.      Columbia Bible College (BC)
2.      Royal Roads University (BC)
3.      Quest University (BC)
4.      University of Calgary (AB)
5.      Lethbridge College (AB)
6.      University of Alberta (AB)
7.      Mount Royal University (AB)
8.      Portage College (AB)
9.      Athabasca University (AB)
10.     NorQuest College (AB)
11.     University of Manitoba (MB)
12.     University of Saskatchewan (SK)
13.     University of Regina (SK)
14.     University of Guelph (ON)
15.     Queens University (ON)
16.     University of Waterloo (ON)
17.     University of Windsor (ON)
18.     York University (ON)
19.     Carleton University (ON)
20.     Holland College (PEI)
21.     University of PEI (PEI)
22.     University of New Brunswick (NB)
23.     Memorial University (NL)
24.     Mount Saint Vincent University (NS)
25.     Acadia University (NS)
26.     Dalhousie University (NS)

The current list includes 14 of the 25 biggest Canadian universities (as measured by the number of students). It does not include any Quebec universities, who deal with Copibec, not Access Copyright.


  1. Schultzter says:

    Vive la difference
    Out of curiousity, are Quebec universities so well funded that they can pay Access Copyright’s exorbitant fee? Or is there another reason we don’t see any universities from the Belle Province on this list?

  2. James Plotkin says:

    The whole story
    umm…He just said because they license through a French collective called Copibec.

    Funny how when Degen points out that there are roughly 2000 post-secondary educational institutions in Canada, he conveniently leaves out the fact that Quebec CEGEP’s and Universities don’t use AC. That’s between 100-150 institutions right there. He also neglects to point out the “14 out of 25 biggest” stat. We mustn’t forget that not all Universities have the same licensing needs. I’m sure a good number of the 2000 (less 150 in Quebec and the 30 some that are out) don’t rely as heavily on AC as the largest institutions do.

    Wait for it…Here it comes…the rude, rage blogging stylings of Mr. John Degen. A man incapable of civil debate.

  3. @Plotkin
    No, John Degen isn’t omitting to mention the Quebec universities. There is an agreement that has all of those universities licensed by Copibec, while AC is the licensing agency for “rest of Canada”. So this isn’t a choice, as Plotkin suggests, but a function of how the country is divided for copyright licensing.

  4. Another University to add to the list
    The University of Lethbridge dropped their license as far back as Jan 1st this year.

  5. James Plotkin says:


    I wasn’t suggesting that there was a choice. I was simply pointing out that in a comment Mr. Degen made on the FAQ post, he mentioned that there are approximately 2000 post-secondary educational institutions in Canada of which fewer than 30 have opted out of the Access Copyright License. I was pointing out that the institutions in Quebec should be deducted from that number for the sake of accuracy.

  6. Sandy Crawley says:

    @ Schultzer,

    Oh so it ncan’t have anything to do with the fact that the polity in Quebec GET the connection between creation and compensation….

  7. A matter of scale?
    Could it be that the larger universities are more capable of opting out as they can afford other resources and the ability to hire more staff for clearance? I would suspect the smaller institutions would not have the capability to do the same, find good value in the AC license, or are specialized enough to not need it at all.

  8. @Sandy
    Get off your freaking soap box already.

    Universities that opted out of AC have no intention of using AC materials unless licensed in another way. They get the link between creation and compensation, just not willing to work with a certain organization that refuses to negotiate their pricing model.

    That’s your fail, director.

  9. MrLemurBoy says:

    That’s a very good point Crockett. I work at a small university. 950 students, approximately, which means $42,750 under the new license. It’s way more than we payed before, and definitely impacts our tiny budget very negatively, but at the same time, hiring someone, even part time to manage all our copyright issues for us as well as setting aside money to defend the inevitable lawsuits make opting out a very difficult proposition. We’re really stuck between a rock and a hard place.

  10. @MrLemurBoy “I work at a small university… It’s way more than we payed before, and definitely impacts our tiny budget very negatively.”

    So I wonder if there was a cost balance analysis at AC where they realized the big Universities were lost anyways? They then set the new tariff at a level that smaller universities found to be just marginally cheaper than the costs of opting out. If so, that would have been a smart business move on their part.

  11. The Saskatchewan Institute of Applied Science and Technology (SIAST) has also opted out.

  12. Oy, if you want to exclude Quebec post-secs from the “roughly 2000” number for the sake of accuracy, go ahead. That still leaves the vast majority of ROC (Rest of Canada) post-secs respecting the tariff, plus all of Quebec respecting their own collective licences.

    Crockett, or maybe AC set prices according to what they considered would be fair for their affiliates. Radical concept.

  13. @Degen “Crockett, or maybe AC set prices according to what they considered would be fair for their affiliates.”

    I think that is generally what I said … any business will want set their prices to the maximum of what they think the market will allow.

    The problem being the market is changing.

  14. Schultzter says:

    mea culpa
    Thanks to all for pointing out that I missed the last paragraph.

    So what’s the deal with Copibec?

  15. “would require universities to give AC access to their records and systems to conduct annual surveillance of copying activities undertaken by their faculty, staff, and students.”

    Is this true??

  16. It all in the numbers
    I have done an analysis of the number of students affected by the opt-out of the institutions in the above list. While this has been said to represent only 25 out of 2000 institutions, it does represent 33% of the student population of public Universities & colleges.

    Now here it the interesting math part:

    Assuming a loss of 33% of students paying the AC tariff, and also the tariff is increased to the requested $45 per student (from $13 average) then there is going to be an increase in profits to Access Copyright in the rage of 200% or $24 MILLION dollars.

    So even if the above universities continue in their opt-out plans and a further 33% of colleges do the same Access copyright is still going to more than double their profits.

    To come out on the loosing side 72% of Canadian students would have to opt-out of AC use, while this is in the realm of possibility all in all I think AC made a smart gamble from a business perspective. How all this will affect our students is another question.

  17. Not surprised to see that Royal Roads U opted out… not sure what they’d have gained by being subject to AC’s proposed tariff. The majority of their students are online (and therefore they likely buy their own texts rather than getting a course pack), so that makes the use of print materials not exactly a high priority. Not sure what the in-house population is now, I was unable to find this info at their website… back when I attended RRMC (where RRU is now) we were pretty packed with

  18. I don’t know what happened…
    to my post yesterday; it got truncated part way through. In any case, we were pretty packed with

  19. Turns out the system doesn’t like a less than sign in the text.

    with less than 300 students. RRU boasts an enrollment of about 2100 for 2011, most of them are on-line.

  20. Science and Engineering programs
    I’d expect universities that have large Science and Engineering programs, and the technical institutes, to mostly opt out. These programs’ courses don’t tend to use course packs much, or AC’s repertoire, so paying $45/student for many who don’t need the material won’t make economical sense.

  21. Access Copyright’s Fees are NOT exorbitant
    Few people realize that the new $45 SUGGESTED tariff fee would mean that profs and students could copy copy copy to their hearts content. Rather than the 20% only policy.

    Considering how much people use digital content, photocopies, etc. it seems unbelievable to me that the intelligent people at Universities think this is “exorbitant.”

    Further, most smaller publishers barely scrape by, while schools use their content, which publishers and authors, printers and designers, work extremely hard to create, for free.

    It’s great to freely accessible content but if content creators can’t make a living off their work, then where will the quality content come from?

    If you don’t buy a band’s cd, how can you expect them to make another one? What’s wrong with paying for this stuff? You can’t download a beer so you pay for it. You can’t download or put a link to a new shirt, you have to pay for it. Why do people seem to think different rules should apply to creative content? It boggles my mind.

  22. Canadian University College has opted out.