New copyright policy enacted

Tariff hike causes Queen’s to opt out of Access Copyright

Copyright specialist Mark Swartz says under the new copyright policy, faculty will be unable to give out copyrighted material.
Copyright specialist Mark Swartz says under the new copyright policy, faculty will be unable to give out copyrighted material.

Queen’s opted out of an Access Copyright agreement, saving at least $800,000 in the process.

Access Copyright is a collective organization that represents publishers in Canada.

Until recently, Access Copyright worked with the Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada (AUCC) to negotiate licences that were used by most schools.

Queen’s last renewed their licence agreement with Access Copyright as of March 2007 and expired at the end of last year.

The licence agreement with Access Copyright allowed Queen’s professors to distribute copyrighted materials to students.

The licence expired at the end of last year when negotiations between Access Copyright and the AUCC broke down. Access Copyright introduced a new tariff, pending approval from the Copyright Board, Canada’s federal copyright body.

Queen’s Copyright specialist Mark Swartz said the new tariff was enacted to create a licence that covered digital materials. His position started in May and was created to address the copyright licensing issues and questions at Queen’s.

“The proposed tariff included a fee hike. The old licence was about $3.38 for every full-time equivalent student,” Swartz said. “And the new licence they proposed ups that fee to about $45.”

All students would be included in the calculation of this heightened fee, even if they didn’t use copyrighted material, he said.

The University’s decision to opt out came after several other schools decided not to renew a licence with Access Copyright.

Nearly three dozen colleges and universities have been reported to opt out of the Access Copyright agreement.

Queen’s is in a different position than some other universities, Swartz said, adding that other schools may not be able to print coursepacks anymore due to the change.

“At Queen’s both the Campus Bookstore and the Publishing and Copy Centre, who create coursepacks, are actually separate organizations from Queen’s.”

After opting out of the old licence agreement, Queen’s adopted a copyright policy that’s based on Canada’s federal Copyright Act.

“Even if we’d stayed with Access Copyright, we would still put forward a copyright policy. It’s just good practice,” Swartz said.

Swartz said the only impact for faculty is an inability to hand out copyrighted materials to students.

“One of the reasons that opting out was a decision here was that people are just using digital materials now,” he said.

Students won’t notice any major differences in their learning and their classes, Swartz said.

“There may be linking material to things in the library catalogue rather than there being a PDF file upload to Moodle, just because of the way the Copyright Policy works.”

Swartz said the change since instituting the Copyright Policy has been positive.

“I’m getting great feedback from my faculty workshops on policy and getting a lot of questions,” he said.

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