Access Copyright Canada goes on anti-fair-dealing war-path

Michael Geist sez,

Months after the Supreme Court of Canada delivered a stinging defeat to Canadian copyright collective Access Copyright by ruling for an expansive approach to fair dealing and the government passed copyright reforms that further expanded the scope of fair dealing, Access Copyright responded yesterday with what amounts to a desperate declaration of war against fair dealing. Access Copyright has decided to fight the law - along with governments, educational institutions, teachers, librarians, and taxpayers - on several fronts. Most notably, it has filed a lawsuit against York University over its fair dealing guidelines, which are similar to those adopted by educational institutions across the country. While the lawsuit has yet to be posted online, the Access Copyright release suggests that the suit is not alleging specific instances of infringement, but rather takes issue with guidelines it says are "arbitrary and unsupported" and that "authorize and encourage copying that is not supported by the law."

Most of Access Copyright's longstanding arguments were dismissed by the Supreme Court this past summer. To suggest that a modest fair dealing policy based on Supreme Court jurisprudence and legislative reforms is "arbitrary and unsupported" is more than just rhetoric masquerading as legal argument. It is a declaration of war against fair dealing.

Access Copyright's Desperate Declaration of War Against Fair Dealing


  1. Howard Knopf has posted Access Copyright’s Statement of Claim against York University over at

    The argument basically is “At least one professor at York has made copies which are not fair dealing, so therefore York should have acquired an Access Copyright license. Also, fair dealing is a complex area and York’s fair dealing guidelines do not adequately explain all it’s nuances, and so they should be seen as authorizing people to break copyright law”.The whole thing reeks of desperation. 

  2. guidelines…that “authorize and encourage copying that is not supported by the law.”

    I’m guessing the between-the-lines meaning of this is that it’s not prohibited, either.

  3. I use to think that copyright collectives were a good idea.  Makes it easy for people to pay the rights holders and all that.  But the more I learn about the way they work and how little they actually end up paying the copyright holders the more despicable they appear.

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