Access Copyright renewals update 2019

Updated: May 21, 2019

This is a 2019 update to the last post from February 2016. It’s been nearly two years since the Federal Court handed down its decision in Access Copyright v. York University (July 12, 2017), ruling that York must pay royalties for its use of copyrighted materials, and that the school’s fair dealing guidelines were neither reliable nor representative of the fair dealing exception. York have appealed the decision to the Federal Court of Appeals, which heard arguments on March 5 and 6, 2019.

While the decision only applies to York, other Canadian universities have been paying close attention. One might expect that schools would flock (back) to Access Copyright to save themselves from a similar lawsuit, but it looks like that hasn’t been the case. No university has entered into an Access Copyright license that was not already subscribing to the service. A few – Dalhousie, Lakehead, Regina, and Trent – did not renew their licenses that in 2016.

Overall, the proportion of universities that do not have a blanket license with Access Copyright increased from 37.5% in 2015, to (at least) 57.8% in 2016, to 76.2% in 2019. Conversely, the proportion of universities that have entered into a license decreased from 59.4% in 2015 to 19% in 2019.

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