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Access Copyright’s Diminishing Repertoire: Why a Growing Repertoire Offers Decreasing Value

As Canadian universities continue to debate whether to sign the Access Copyright model licence, one of the copyright collective’s chief arguments in favour of the deal is access to what it describes as “an ever-growing repertoire of books, journals, newspapers, etc.”.  Yet the reality is that while the number of works within the repertoire may be growing, the works being copied under the Access Copyright licence is almost certainly declining, thereby diminishing its value for potential licensees, such as universities.

How is this possible when the relative size of the Access Copyright repertoire keeps growing?

There are two reasons. First, Section 20 of the model licence makes it clear that it only kicks in if the use of the work does not otherwise fall within an exception under the Copyright Act or is subject to alternate licensing arrangement, such as database site licences or open access. As I argued in my post on why universities should not sign the licence, these alternatives represent a growing percentage of copying that takes place within universities. Moreover, once Bill C-11 becomes law, the percentage will grow further as the education-specific exceptions take effect.

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May 29, 2012 2 comments News