Canadian Universities have one week to reject an insane copyright licensing deal that raises the cost of course materials by more than 600%

Michael Geist sez,

Car rental companies are infamous for encouraging customers to sign up for expensive liability insurance policies. Since many renters already have coverage from their own automotive insurance policies or can rely upon insurance coverage provided by their credit card issuer, the decision whether to sign up for a costly additional policy frequently depends upon who is paying the bill. If the individual is on the hook, they will often decline coverage and rely on their existing policies. If someone else is paying, it becomes easier to justify signing up for the additional coverage.

Last week, the Association of Universities and Colleges Canada, which represents dozens of Canada's leading universities, signed up for one of the most expensive copyright insurance policies in Canadian history. My weekly technology law column notes the policy comes in the form of a controversial model copyright licensing agreement with Access Copyright, a copyright collective that licenses copying and distribution of copyrighted works such as books, journals, and other texts. Should AUCC members sign the agreement - it falls to each individual university to decide whether to do so - they will pay $26 per full time student per year for the right to copy works from the Access Copyright repertoire.

The deal marks a significant increase from the previous agreement, which had cost students less than four dollars annually plus ten cents per page for materials included within printed coursepacks. The new fees are likely to be passed along to students, who will ultimately bear the burden of the copyright arrangement with higher tuitions.

Other People’s Money: Why AUCC Signed the Most Expensive Copyright Insurance Policy in Cdn History


  1. When I first read the headline and started to read the article, I was completely outraged.  “600%!  That is indeed (as promised in the headline) insane! ”

    Then I got to the bottom of the article, where it was stated that the original cost was $4 per student per year and that it was going up to $26/student/year.  Ah, hmmm.  So that’s around 1/6th the cost of one single textbook for one semester.  I would not even notice that cost increase at all, if it were not pointed out to me.

    Outrage lost.  Yes, that is a large sum of money if you add up the contribution for all of the students, and it is in support of greedy bastards running a “Copyright Collective,” which surely we all must revile.  But honestly, the university will just tack on a round $30 per student, and each student will have to somehow make do without that $30.  Considering how much tuition and all other expenses have gone up, this is almost the last thing in the world that I would even care about.

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