Fair Dealing Week for 2023 may have come to an end, but my series on Canadian copyright, fair dealing, and education continues. This week’s Law Bytes podcast features Western librarian Stephen Spong on fair dealing and prior posts in the series endeavoured to set the record straight and discussed site licensing, transactional licensing, and the disappearance of course packs. Today’s post discusses the growth of open textbooks, which has flourished in recent years. That has saved students millions of dollars, provided faculty with more flexible, adaptable materials, and eliminated the need for either additional licences or a fair dealing analysis.
Archive for February, 2023
Canadian Copyright, Fair Dealing and Education, Part Five: Open Textbooks Saving Students Millions of Dollars
The Canadian government often talks about the importance of privacy, but actions speaks louder than words. Not only has privacy reform clearly not been a priority, but the government seems more than willing to use the weak privacy rules to further other policy goals. There is an obvious price for the government’s indifference to privacy safeguards and it is paid by millions of Canadians when major privacy incidents (think Tim Horton’s or Home Depot) result in no substantive changes and no urgency for reform from the government. Indeed, as I noted yesterday on Twitter, the government has managed to rush through user content regulation in Bill C-11 and mandated payments for links in Bill C-18, but somehow privacy reform in Bill C-27 has barely moved. Some of the responsibility must surely lie with Innovation, Science and Industry Minister François-Philippe Champagne, who brings high energy to everything but privacy reform, but the decision reflects on the entire government.
The Law Bytes Podcast, Episode 157: Stephen Spong on the “Goblin Mode Gaslighting” of Canadian Copyright and Fair Dealing
Last week was Fair Dealing Week, a chance for a wide range of Canadians – educators, students, librarians, archivists, and creators – to celebrate the important role that fair dealing plays in facilitating both fair access and fair compensation to copyrighted works. I ran a series of posts on Canadian education, fair dealing and copyright that will continue into the coming week. This week’s Law Bytes podcast episode is part of that series as I’m joined by Stephen Spong, the director of the John and Dotsa Bitove law library and copyright officer at Western University. Spong used fair dealing week to write a piece that appeared in multiple press venues to lament what he termed “goblin mode gaslighting on copyright” and he joins me on the podcast to talk about fair dealing in practice, the ongoing policy debate, and the meaning of goblin mode gaslighting.
Canadian copyright lobby groups effort to persuade the government to restrict fair dealing has often focused on a particular use case: the course pack. For many years, course packs were used by university and college professors to pull together a customized collection of reading materials for their courses. The course packs were copied and typically sold as an alternative to course textbooks. Copyright lobby groups and their supporters have long claimed that the practice relies on fair dealing and that universities are profiting from copying without compensation. My Fair Dealing Week series on Canadian copyright, fair dealing, and education (Setting the Record Straight, The Massive Shift to Electronic Licensing, Millions Spent on Transactional Licences Demonstrate Fair Dealing is No Free for All) continues with a look at what has actually happened with data demonstrating the printed course packs have all but disappeared from university campuses.