Canadian copyright collecting society uses lies to pit creators against schools

Access Copyright, which collects license fees from libraries and schools on behalf of Canadian creators, has produced a shameful piece of FUD regarding Canada's proposed copyright law, Bill C-32, and its provisions on education.

Canada's fair dealing (analogous to US fair use) allows certain people to make brief quotations without permission. Journalists and critics are among these protected users. Educators are not. This means that it's not legal for teachers to make brief quotes in handouts or online materials. For example, teachers need permission to include a brief quotation on an exam, or to copy a portion of a painting for study in an art class.

Under the new exemption proposed in C-32, teachers would join journalists and critics as one of the protected groups who can make brief quotes (provided such quotes don't comprise a "significant" portion of the work) for a narrow set of purposes. This is pretty commonsensical — not least because teachers have been doing this forever, and every writer and artist learned her or his craft from teachers who made use of this facility, legal or not.

But a few multinational publishers — who've opposed every kind of fair dealing in various forums all over the world — have convinced creators that this new rule will allow classrooms to make wholesale copies of their work without compensation. And now Access Copyright — who would love to charge nonsensical license fees for inconsequential copying — are leading the charge in driving a wedge between creators and educators and kids.

Embarrassingly, Access Copyright funds this activity with funds collected on my behalf. For the record, I do not approve of this use of my money, and I'm sad and furious that these people are attacking Canada's schools and misleading Canadian creators in my name.

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