The reaction to last month’s Supreme Court of Canada copyright decisions with Access Copyright continues to play out with its supporters seeking to downplay the likely impact. I’ve already written several posts on the decision, including one explaining why the decision eviscerates Access Copyright’s business model
. The short version of that post is that the Court rejected each Access Copyright key fair dealing arguments, in the process greatly expanding fair dealing in the education context such that the Access Copyright licence – which typically only covers 10 percent of a work – will rarely add value beyond what is permitted under fair dealing.
In light of the decisions and recent copyright law reforms, K-12 schools are likely to conclude that they do not need an Access Copyright licence. While the collective and its supporters will react by claiming that this will greatly harm Canadian publishers and authors, the reality is that schools have permission to reproduce the overwhelming majority of materials without Access Copyright or fair dealing.
Access Copyright has argued that the case only focused on 7% of copies, but the truth is that it involved an even smaller amount. The 7% figure stems from the copies for which Access Copyright seeks payment. In fact, the Access Copyright sponsored study that lies at the heart of the K-12 case found that schools already had permission to reproduce 88% of all books, periodicals, and newspapers without even conducting a copyright analysis or turning to the Access Copyright licence.
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The Supreme Court of Canada has granted leave to appeal the Federal Court of Appeal decision involving copyright and K-12 schools, which specifically addressed fair dealing in the context of education. I wrote about the Federal Court of Appeal decision here.
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