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Supreme Court Says Congress May Re-Copyright Public Domain Works

By David Kravets   
January 18, 2012  1:56 pm

Congress may take books, musical compositions and other works out of the public domain, where they can be freely used and adapted, and grant them copyright status again, the Supreme Court ruled Wednesday.

In a 6-2 ruling, the court said that, just because material enters the public domain, it is not “territory that works may never exit.”

The top court was ruling on a petition by a group of orchestra conductors, educators, performers, publishers and film archivists who urged the justices to reverse an appellate court that ruled against the group, which has relied on artistic works in the public domain for their livelihoods.

Read more at the original link:

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Dear Jean-Yves Leduc and Leslie Weir,
Thank you for your time in presenting the developing situation with respect to copyright, over the course of meetings held with the Association of Professors of the University of Ottawa (APUO) in April and May 2012.

Following discussions with you and having consulted with members and experts of our university community, we encourage the university to operate independently and not sign the recent copyright model licence as negotiated between the Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada (AUCC) and Access Copyright.

Read more at the original link:

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The Association of Canadian Community Colleges has just struck a deal with Access Copyright. It is similar to the AUCC deal - with one big difference. It’s for $10 per student per year and not $26 as per AUCC and $27.50 as per UofT/UWO. Here’s the model license.

So why the difference? AC has suddenly and conveniently determined that “Although we have little data regarding digital copying on campuses, historical coursepack usage data indicates that universities copy 2.6 times more than colleges.”

This appears to justify why the ACCC license is for $10 and the AUCCC model license is for $26. But is there any evidence to support either figure?

Read more at the original link:
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Michael Geist provides solid reasons why universities and colleges should avoid this agreement.

Copyright has emerged as a hot issue on Canadian university campuses in recent weeks as schools consider whether to sign the Access Copyright model licence negotiated with the AUCC.  Several schools, including UBC, Athabasca, Windsor, and Winnipeg have already indicated that they will not sign the licence, while others (such as Queen's, Victoria and Calgary) have reluctantly signed the letter of intent. Many groups have voiced their strong objection to the licence, including the CAUT, APLA, BCLA, MLA, CFS, and CASA. These groups represent faculty, students, and librarians - the three groups within education most affected by the model licence.

Last week, I was asked by the Association of Professors Ottawa, the University of Ottawa faculty union, for my views. I opened my remarks by emphasizing a key misconception often fueled by Access Copyright and its supporters. The question being faced by the universities is not whether to pay for copyright works. Universities, faculty and students currently spend millions of dollars every year on copyright materials and will continue to do so. The only question is whether - in addition to existing expenditures on books, licences, and in support of open access - they should also pay the $26 per student fee to Access Copyright. 

I believe the answer is no for the following six key reasons:

Read more at the original link:
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If you can, consider attending the ABC Copyright Conference in Ottawa!

Howard Knopf and Sam Trosow will be speaking!

"This year’s theme is particularly apt. In addition to 2011-12 having been a year full of developments and changes in Canadian copyright law and policy, this is the first year the Conference will be held outside the West! We are looking forward to discussing the following topics:

Fair dealing;
The interplay between copyright and academic freedom
 An update on the Access Copyright tariff proceedings
 An open forum on copyright questions
 Best practices in educating users about copyright
 Copyright and orphan works.

Sessions will run all day on the 4th and the 5th, with a cocktail reception and dinner  on the evening of the 4th on the rooftop patio at the beautiful National Arts Centre, just across the canal from the University."

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Wonders never cease. Here's a letter from  the International Publishers Association (possibly inspired by some Canadian sources?), suggesting that Canada may face a WTO challenge over the fair dealing provisions in Bill C-11. HT to Michael Geist.

This is simply absurd. The fair dealing provisions of Bill C-11 are less permissive than those of the USA, which explicitly allows for multiple copies for classroom use.

Once again, here's the USA provision - which has been there since 1976:
 17 USC § 107 - Limitations on exclusive rights: Fair use
Notwithstanding the provisions of sections 106 and 106A, the fair use of a copyrighted work, including such use by reproduction in copies or phonorecords or by any other means specified by that section, for purposes such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching (including multiple copies for classroom use), scholarship, or research, is not an infringement of copyright. In determining whether the use made of a work in any particular case is a fair use the factors to be considered shall include—

Read more at the original link:
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Michael Geist has posed the idea that the new AC agreement is actually a very expensive form of liability insurance.

Howard Knopf takes this idea further and suggests that if it is a form of insurance, then AC is technically breaking Ontario law.

Of course, it is not the universities and colleges (which may or may not sign the model agreement) that will be paying for this "copyright insurance," but the students.
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Students will pay more for copyright material
Under terms of new deal, price to jump from $4 to $25 per university semester
By PETER HENDERSON, Postmedia News April 19, 2012
A deal between Canadian universities and copyright holders over the distribution of articles and course readings is being criticized as one-sided.
The deal is between the Association of Universities and Colleges Canada and Access Copyright, which collects money for copyright holders from such institutions as schools, libraries and businesses for the right to photocopy and distribute copyrighted works.
Under terms of a deal announced this week, students could pay more than $25 per semester to access copyrighted materials. That's up from less than $4 a semester in 2010.
Students were charged 10 cents per page for printed readings and similar works under the former agreement.
"This (agreement) has a totally different price structure," said Christine Tausig Ford, an executive at the Association of Universities and Colleges Canada.
"It covers different things. You can't compare apples and oranges."
Under the new deal, Access Copyright will not charge for readings that are bound and distributed in course packs or on school websites.

Read more at the original link:

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UWO and the University of Toronto have entered into a voluntary agreement with Access Copyright.  Read more about this (and what it means for students) here:

Toronto and Western sign licensing agreement with Access Copyright - by Dr Sam Trosow

U. of T. and Western Capitulate to Access Copyright - by Howard Knopf