This year, students will notice an additional Copyright Fee on their accounts. The new fee is $24 per full time student, and $15 per part time student. The Copyright Fee represents the cost of Brandon University signing an agreement with Access Copyright. In the 2012-2013 academic year, Brandon University absorbed the roughly $60,000 cost of this agreement. This year, the Board of Governors approved passing this cost on to students.
Access Copyright describes themselves as “a key service provider for educators, businesses, schools, government and other users of copyright protected works. We represent the reproduction rights of and distribute royalties to thousands of Canadian writers, visual artists and publishers” (via their website).
Access Copyright has been around since 1988. It allows people to reproduce more than is allowed under Fair Dealing in Canadian Copyright Law. Before the current fee, the previous agreement was just over $3.00 per student, with an additional fee for copying course packs. In 2011, The Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada (AUCC) re-negotiated a deal which would instead charge $26 per full-time-equivalent student. The majority of universities in Canada signed the new agreement with Access Copyright. Others who chose not to sign have instead opted to get by using information covered under Fair Dealing or by using open access materials.
Universities can be sued if they violate copyright laws. Access Copyright provides protection to universities. Without an internal copyright office, there is nobody to monitor, for example, a professor’s Moodle page, which could contain material that violates Fair Dealing.
Republished from The Quill print edition, Volume 104, Issue 3, September 17, 2013.