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Canada's Writers and Publishers Disappointed by U of T and Western's Non-Renewal of Licence

TORONTO, ONTARIO--(Marketwired - Dec 11, 2013) - Thousands of Canadian creators and publishers learned today that despite efforts to negotiate new and reasonable rates, the University of Toronto and Western University will not renew their current licences with Access Copyright.

"We are extremely disappointed," said Roanie Levy, Executive Director of Access Copyright. "Access Copyright's licence has enabled faculty to create efficient resource packages in both paper and digital form that are tailored to both their needs and those of their students. Millions of pages are shared in this way every year. Roughly 80% of the content copied comes from books. It is unlikely that access to these titles is licensed by the university through library or institutional subscriptions."

Instead of paying royalties to creators and publishers it is expected that these institutions will now rely on fair dealing guidelines, which are untested by law and closely replicate the scope of coverage in the Access Copyright licence. These policies represent a self-interested interpretation of what some in the education sector would like the law to be. Clearly fair dealing requires clarification. Renewing licences is difficult without fair dealing guidelines that work for everybody - educators, students, creators and publishers.

A comprehensive licence from Access Copyright provides pre-authorized permission, freeing faculty to systematically select and share resources without concern for copyright infringement, while ensuring appropriate rewards for the creators and publishers whose works are used.

Despite the enormous volume of usage of content in the Access Copyright repertoire, today's news means that, as of January 1, 2014, University of Toronto and Western University will end more than 20 years of cooperation with Canada's writing and publishing community.

For faculty who are accustomed to operating under Access Copyright licences, the termination will be accompanied by disruption and uncertainty. Faculty may be asked to change the way they share materials, or to assume greater personal responsibility for copyright, or to select different types of materials.

"Nobody wins in this scenario," said Levy. "That's why Access Copyright will continue its work in pursuit of a sustainable interpretation of fair dealing that benefits all those who read, write, teach and learn. Copyright should work for everyone."

There is much at stake for the future of Canada's classrooms. Access Copyright believes in a strong and vibrant culture of writing, publishing, reading, teaching and learning in Canada and is exploring new ways to meet the needs of educators and students in this new digital learning environment.

Access Copyright is a collective voice of creators and publishers in Canada. A non-profit, national organization, we represent tens of thousands of Canadian creators and publishers, and their copyright-protected work. Through agreements with sister organizations around the world we also represent the works of hundreds of thousands of foreign creators and publishers.