Universities grapple with court’s copyright decision

As the new academic year approaches, Canadian universities are grappling with the Federal Court of Canada’s recent copyright decision against York University, writes Sara Bannerman for The Conversation.

The court ruled that York could not rely on its fair dealing policy and per-use licensing to copy works as a part of course packs, but must pay millions of dollars in licensing fees to Access Copyright, which sells blanket copyright licences to organisations. Publishers felt vindicated, while fair dealing advocates have argued that the decision is incorrect, fails to follow Supreme Court of Canada precedent and is likely to be overturned on appeal. York has announced that it will appeal the decision.

Twin problems arise from the decision. One, as some have noted, is the danger of a new, more restrictive interpretation of fair dealing when it comes to educational materials. The other problem, less discussed, is the danger that universities could be enlisted as copyright surveillance and enforcement watchdogs.
Full report on The Conversation site