Letter: Universities aggressive on copyright issues

Access Copyright was surprised to come across the article, “Universities slow to use new fair-dealing rights,” in your Sept. 23 edition and disappointed not to have been offered the opportunity to participate.

As you can appreciate, we are deeply involved in the matter at hand and, in fact, are mentioned by name eight times in the article. We know the readers of Law Times appreciate hearing from all sides. Next time, we would welcome the chance to broaden the context of this important discussion to include the voice of the tens of thousands of writers, visual artists, and publishers we represent.

Contrary to the suggestions in the article, the copyright guidelines promoted by the Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada and adopted by some institutions are an aggressive approach to attempt to eliminate a 20-year history of licensing the use of copyright-protected works. They are not reflective of the law of fair dealing in Canada; rather, they reflect a broad self-interpretation of what the institutions would like the law to be. Fair dealing remains a case-by-case analysis. Far from being slow to use new fair-dealing rights, educational institutions’ practices are the subject of three legal proceedings in Canada. That is because authors, visual artists, and publishers disagree that these practices and policies are fair.

Creators and publishers want their works to be widely shared and used. But they also want to be sure there is a sustainable system in place so the students of tomorrow have access to the Canadian content they require. Access Copyright is dedicated to forging a future for copyright in Canada that works for everyone.

Roanie Levy,
executive director, Access Copyright

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