educational institutions are covered by a separate
pact with a Quebec copyright collective.)
Institutions without a model licence rely on
fair dealing, open-access materials, transactional
licences and digital licences for electronic books
and journals to copy materials. Publishers and
aggregators of digital materials have increasingly
struck licensing agreements directly with educational institutions, bypassing Access Copyright.
Some universities have argued that the value
of an Access Copyright licence had been in
decline, even before the changes to the Copyright Act were made and the Supreme Court ruling was issued, because its repertoire doesn’t
include many digital resources, a claim that
Access Copyright disputes.
The University of British Columbia, which
operates without an Access Copyright licence,
Many educational institutions have since
adopted these or similar guidelines.
“This case is really about what is a short
excerpt,” said Ms. Noel. The lawyers based the
guidelines on copyright rules and practices in
other countries including Australia, the U.S. and
Israel, said Ms. Noel, who argued the case before
the Supreme Court. “We didn’t pick ‘ 10 percent’
and ‘a chapter’ out of the air. That was very well
Some have argued that Access Copyright’s
lawsuit is aimed, too, at pressuring institutions
that operate without an Access Copyright licence.
The model licence reached by AUCC and Access
Copyright in April 2012 calls for institutions that
sign it to pay a royalty fee to the copyright collec-
tive of $26 per full-time equivalent student. More
than 20 universities, including York, that together
represent almost half of student enrolment out-
side Quebec, didn’t sign the licence, balking at the
cost and questioning the scope and value of the
licence. About half of colleges that are members
of the Association of Canadian Community Col-
leges and all school boards outside Quebec oper-
ate without an Access Copyright licence. (Quebec
UBC President Stephen Toope saying: “Guide-
lines claiming 10 percent of a book, entire short
stories, entire chapters, etc. as fair dealing are
not supported by established law in Canada, nor
are they likely ever to be.”
Hubert Lai, UBC’s university counsel, said
the decision to operate without the licence
wasn’t simply a cost-saving measure. Although
UBC no longer pays royalty fees to Access Copy-
right, it spends considerable resources to meet
its copyright obligations. UBC set up a central
copyright clearance office to help faculty, staff
and students ensure they are copyright compli-
ant. Another office clears all materials uploaded
onto UBC’s online learning management system.
Mr. Lai said the fair-dealing guidelines at the
centre of the legal dispute are consistent with
the requirements of the Copyright Act. “We fully
support York University,” he said.
Ariel Katz, associate professor of law and
Innovation Chair in Electronic Commerce at the
University of Toronto, said recent changes in
Canada’s copyright landscape should spur universities to more forcefully assert their rights as
OPEN KNOWLEDGE 2013
Strengthening communities is a priority for
Canada’s universities and we’re proud to celebrate
the important partnerships that benefit us all.
FROM NOVEMBER 9 TO 18, universities across
Canada will open their doors to the community
as part of a national university open house.
We’re better together!
For event details, visit:
aucc.ca/opendoors Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada Association des universités et collèges du Canada