Reduce the Access Copyright Student Tariff

Howard Knopf and Michael Geist both warn that this tariff will circumvent Canadian copyright law.
small children in "graduate" caps

As a parent I don’t think it’s a good idea, for any of our kids. You know, I’ve heard rumours that in many civilized countries post secondary education is fully funded by the state.

But what is worse is that it is totally unreasonable. What Access Copyright is demanding copyright payments for is ludicrous. For Instance:

Incredibly, the tariff defines a “copy” to include “posting a link or hyperlink to Digital Copy”. So, that would presumably include any website with copyrighted material. For example, take this blog – please! AC apparently expects to be paid whenever a professor posts a link on his or her website to my blog, or Michael Geist’s blog or the Globe and Mail or eBay. That is simply absurd.”

—Howard Knopf,
Access Copyrights Excessive $45 per University student proposed tariff

The tariff purports to licence linking to materials, despite the fact that no licence is or should be needed for such activities. It charges for displays which are not copies, lacks an exclusion for fair dealing (as is found in the current tariff), provides additional protection for digital locks, and features extensive, onerous reporting requirements.”

—Michael Geist,
Access Copyright’s 1300% Tariff Increase – Deadline to Object is August 11, 2010

I don’t have time to be elegant, but here is my objection:

Acting Secretary General
56 Sparks Street, Suite 800
Ottawa, Ontario
K1A 0C9
613-952-8624 (telephone)
613-952-8630 (fax) (email)

Dear Mr. McDougall:

I only found out about this today, so I’ll be brief.

I sincerely hope that you decline this Access Copyright tariff increase. I think the amount is excessive and extortionate, instead I would appreciate it if you would look into reducing the amount of the tariff already paid to Access Copyright.

I am a writer, who is just getting up to speed on a lot of copyright issues because I haven’t made any income as a writer in fifteen years because I was fortunate enough to be able to take a long family raising hiatus. It is in the capacity of a parent I am writing primarily.

As a writer, I am not a member of Access Copyright, but I doubt I would want to be. I have not looked into it closely but things I’ve read about Access Copyright have made me very very uncomfortable.

As a parent, I have volunteered and/or served on the P.T.A. of the schools my child has attended. I’ve seen elementary library staff slashed to the point that I don’t think any elementary school in Ontario has a teacher-librarian available to students. Volunteers like me and a few lower paid staffers have been left running school libraries. In Ontario this unfortunate process coincided with standardized testing which invariable produces the result that we need better literacy among our children. I am confident that you will understand the dreadful irony in this.

Education lays the foundation for our future. It isn’t like Canadian post secondary students need this. This will be bad for students, economically adding the already high cost of post secondary education in Canada.

I realize that many policy makers don’t think a tiny sum like another forty five dollars will make a difference. But I have to tell you that is wrong. We are already losing plenty of bright worthy students who chose to go from high school directly into the workforce precisely because post secondary education is already too expensive. And every potential Nobel Laureate who ends up driving a cab because they didn’t want to spend the rest of their lives paying off student loans is a blow to Canada. To our future as a nation.

I believe that Canadian Copyright law requires changes, but not the sort of changes that Access Copyright would like to see. But time is short, so I don’t have time to get into that here. As I understand it our existing copyright is plenty strong, even before any changes.

As a writer, and the parent of a potential writer, I find the idea of allowing Access Copyright to license rights it doesn’t have in respect of repertoire it doesn’t have to be seriously detrimental to the future of this great nation.

This is not a good idea. Again, please consider reducing the Access Copyright Tariff.


Laurel L. Russwurm

p.s. I will also be publishing this formal objection in my blog, Laurel L. Russwurm


2 thoughts on “Reduce the Access Copyright Student Tariff

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