U of S rejects copyright agreement

The U of S has officially rejected a new licensing agreement negotiated this past spring between Access Copyright and the Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada (AUCC).

Although the decision is now official, not much in terms of practice will change at the university, explained Amanda Storey, copyright co-ordinator at the U of S. The U of S ended its agreement with Access Copyright last August in objection to a proposed fee increase to $45 per full time equivalent (FTE) student. The AUCC and Access Copyright negotiated a new licensing agreement, said Storey, and agreed to a fee of $26 per FTE—amounting to about $430,000 per year for the U of S.

"This was down from Access Copyright's initial proposed fee, but still much higher than our old agreement, which worked out to about $10-$12 per FTE. We decided to remain outside of Access Copyright because we determined it wasn't an essential tool anymore. But because we decided not to accept their agreement last summer, as far as practice is concerned, nothing changes. We will still need to rely on library licenses and will still need to seek transactional licenses directly which you can request through the bookstore for printed material," she explained.

The biggest area that will now need to be monitored is how material is used in online environments, like PAWS and Blackboard, she said. "We have been doing a number of education sessions just to remind everyone that online and digital information follows the same copyright requirements as printed material. There is a sense that posting something online is not the same as making copies, but in either case, the creator of the work needs to give permission."

Storey said there are many places to turn to on campus with questions about copyright.

"Our office is there to help and we have a new website that is full of information to help get you started. The library and the liaison librarians are great resources as well," as is a new usage rights database called Mondo that indicates what can be done with electronic journal materials, whether posting online or making copies for coursepacks.

Storey indicated that 16 Canadian universities, including York and the University of British Columbia, have made the same decision as the
U of S.

"There are some concerns about how we can ensure compliance in online usage, but as long as we start looking more closely at our online uses of material and work on educating staff, faculty and students about their rights and responsibilities, we are in a favourable position. When in doubt, seek help from the copyright office, the library or our website."

More information is available on the university's copyright website.
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