Copyright - Questions and Answers for Students

(1) Question: What is the new Access Copyright Licence?
Answer: The Licence, negotiated between the Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada (“AUCC”) and the copyright collective, Access Copyright, facilitates the Licence holder’s legal access to, and lawful use, reproduction and distribution of, works for which Access Copyright legally administers the copyright on behalf of the copyright owners. Since Lakehead University has adopted the Licence, all of the University’s students, faculty, and staff are covered by its rights and protections – especially our students, who do most of the copying for which the University is legally obliged to pay copyright royalties under the Copyright Act of Canada. In return Lakehead University must pay Access Copyright copyright royalties in the amount of $26 per Full Time Equivalent (“FTE”) student every year. The term of the Licence runs until December 31, 2015.

(2) Question: Why is the Licence royalty fee $26 per FTE student?
Answer: Here’s what the AUCC, who negotiated the Licence and fee on behalf of the universities, tells us: the $26 fee “reflects current market rates under other copying agreements between universities and copyright collectives. For example, the current photocopying licence between the Quebec collective Copibec and Quebec universities requires payment of an annual fee of $25.50 per Full-Time Equivalent (FTE) Student.” The AUCC finally agreed to this rate because, in their assessment, it was “very unlikely that the Copyright Board [of Canada] would certify a final tariff fee for universities that was significantly lower than the market rate.”

(3) Question: Why is the University collecting the Licence royalty fee from students?
Answer: The University is largely continuing its past practice – in different mode. In the past the institution has always charged the copyright fee to students by including it in the price of photocopying and materials, like course packs. The fee appears now more openly in the $26 charge per FTE student – and will no longer be included in the price of course packs and related materials to which royalties attach. On the one hand the University merely collects and passes the fees on to Access Copyright; not one cent goes to revenue for the University. On the other hand the University has no other source of revenue to pay these fees and, since the fees are set and levied by Access Copyright on the basis of our student registrations, we collect them accordingly. The University has the authorization of Ontario’s Ministry of Training, Colleges, and Universities to do so.

(4) Question: Will every student be charged the $26 fee?
Answer: Only students with Full-Time Equivalent status will be charged the full $26 fee. Part-time students will be charged proportionately.

(5) What will be the practical impact of the Licence on student budgets?
Answer: Every student will be charged the Licence fee pursuant to their status (full-time, or part-time), however while the University has to recover its labour, overhead, and supply costs in the production of its course packs, we can strip the copyright royalty fee right out of the price, so students who have to purchase course packs will realize substantial savings.

(6) What can I copy under the Licence?
Answer: You can copy up to 10% of any published work in Access Copyright’s repertoire – or make a copy of a repertoire work that is:

  1. an entire article, short story, play, essay or poem, or reproduction of an artistic work from a volume containing other published works;
  2. an entire article or page from a newspaper or periodical;
  3. an entire entry from an encyclopedia or similar reference work or an entire reproduction of an artistic work from a publication;
  4. one chapter of a book, provided the chapter is no more than 20% of that book.

(7) What forms of copying does the Licence permit students?

Answer: You can

  1. photocopy, fax, scan and print;
  2. store copies, such as on a hard drive, USB stick or on a Secure Network;
  3. transmit by email, upload or post copies within a Secure Network;
  4. project and display copies, such as on overheads, on LCD or plasma monitors, or interactive whiteboards.

(8) Why has Lakehead not followed the example of other Canadian universities in foregoing the Access Copyright Licence?
Answer: Before signing the Licence agreement, the University carefully weighed the costs and benefits of the options open to us. Here are the main factors which led us to conclude that, on balance, adopting the licence was the best choice:

  1. If we didn’t use Access Copyright’s services we would have to set up our own copyright office with appropriate staffing to vet all copying on the University’s premises, obtain permission to copy copyrighted works, ascertain and collect royalties, and, generally, ensure compliance with the Copyright Act. This exercise would take time and entail a substantive expenditure that the University would have to recover from our students. This is a burden that all universities which have not adopted the Licence have had, or will have, to take on.
  2. Without the Licence the University copyright staff would have to go through the lengthy process of seeking permission from every copyright owner represented by Access Copyright whose works we wanted to copy for our course packs, web-sites, etc. We would have no guarantee that such permission would be granted -– and we can’t copy without permission. Almost inevitably, then, we would run into serious bottlenecks and delays in producing course packs and getting readings up on course web sites.
  3. Without the broad protection of the Access Copyright Licence, our exposure to copyright infringement with resultant penalties and litigation costs would greatly increase – costs, again, that we would have to recover from students.
  4. More positively, the Licence increases the range of materials that can be copied without copyright infringement. As the AUCC tells us, “The model licence increases access to educational material by providing the right to copy a new range of digital materials that were unavailable under the previous photocopying licences. The model licence also allows the digital copying of works for which transactional (pay-per-use) permissions may not be available from the copyright owner.”
  5. Again, in the words of the AUCC, the Licence “provides long-term certainty on price, ...respects the principles of academic freedom and privacy and ensures that the administrative burden on institutions is minimized.” Moreover the Licence explicitly exempts from the Licence fee and administration any and all “fair dealing,” that is, copying and use for which permission is not required under the Copyright Act.

For these and other reasons the University decided to join the majority of other Canadian universities – so far 65% - outside Quebec in signing the Access Copyright Licence. While covered by the Licence we will, over the next 3 years of the Licence’s term, be closely studying authoritative interpretations of the Copyright Act (including the recently legislated revisions to it) and the advantages and disadvantages of alternative arrangements for obtaining copyright permissions and protecting the University and its community from infringement of copyright law. We will then be in a position truly to determine whether renewal of the Access Copyright Licence or establishment of our own copyright compliance process is in Lakehead University’s best interests.