Monday, April 16, 2012

Universities and Access Copyright sign agreement governing use of printed and digital content

After years of acrimony and long negotiation, Access Copyright has signed a model license with the Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada (AUCC). It means Canadian universities can now reproduce copyright protected materials in both print and digital formats while fairly compensating publishers and creators for the works they are using. Previously, Access licenses had largely been related to photocopied and scanned material, but things had changed dramatically with the growth of digitization.
The agreement, which will be in place December 31 and will renew automatically for one-year terms, provides that over the next six months, a survey methodology will be designed to assess the type and volume of usage so that Access can distribute royalties fairly. According to a joint press release
The model licence will see universities pay Access Copyright a royalty of $26.00 per full-time equivalent student annually.  This royalty includes what used to be a separate 10 cents per page royalty for coursepack copying, so there will no longer be a separate royalty for such copying.  
Paul Davison, president of the AUCC said
“We believe that this negotiated agreement provides the best possible outcome for universities, their students and faculty. It provides long-term certainty on price, and access to a new range of digital materials. Most importantly, the agreement respects the principles of academic freedom and privacy that are important to universities, and ensures that the administrative burden on institutions is minimized.”
Maureen Cavan, the executive director of Access Copyright said
“The licence provides easy, legal access to copyright protected works for students, professors and staff, in a simple, fast and cost efficient manner.”
Access Copyright is a not-for-profit collective licensing organization that collects royalties for copying and use of intellectual property and disburses it to publishers and creators, both in Canada and on behalf of foreign rights holders. 
Access  had been in a frustrating and drawn-out dispute with universities and colleges over its wish to have an omnibus agreement covering both copying and digital use. Access was asking the Canadian Copyright Board to impose a tariff -- as much as $45 a student -- a blended fee that would replace a hodge-podge of flat fee and per-page royalties which had grown up over the years, ranging from $3.38 to over $200 per student. 
Universities were essentially arguing that the collective licensing was redundant and that there should be a pay-per-use model,  one in which schools or individual faculty members would be responsible for clearing rights themselves, something which Access said impossible to manage and a virtual invitation for wholesale copyright infringement. 

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