December 11, 2013

Statement on non-renewal of Access Copyright licences

The Association of Canadian Publishers was disappointed to learn today that the University of Toronto and Western University have decided not to renew their Access Copyright licences. 

Our association represents 120 Canadian-owned publishers of all sizes. Revenue in the Canadian publishing sector is always precarious, and we rely on the licencing of our material for substantial revenue each year.

Since the formation of Access Copyright more than 20 years ago, Canadian university and college faculty have been able to select excerpts from any type of publication (textbooks, books, magazines, journals) to share with students in handouts, course packs and, more recently, by digital upload.  

The Access Copyright licence has meant that writers and publishers have been properly compensated for this use of their work. 

Now, in what we consider an inappropriate invocation of fair dealing, unsupported by any court decision, educators have adopted positions that will ultimately prove harmful to our industry and, in turn, diminish the Canadian resources available to support instruction.   

We believe that fair dealing should be fair—it is about reasonable accommodation for spontaneous, situational uses; it is not a guideline for the systematic delivery of free resources.  This was never the intention behind Bill C-11.  In fact, the ACP higher education committee has developed a statement on fair dealing which can be accessed on our website.

Teaching, learning, writing and publishing are symbiotic, so we continue to believe in the potential to find common ground, and a solution that will work for everybody.  There are essential cultural and educational values at stake.