Access Copyright

I have an opinion piece out on Access Copyright, English Canada’s longtime copyright middleman. I argue that Access Copyright is a bit like the Blockbuster Video of Canadian university libraries—once indispensable, and now almost obsolete (largely due the Internet). Within a year from now, it’s possible that no Canadian university will still have day-to-day dealings with the organization.

The piece provides some history on Access Copyright, explaining how it has functioned. The piece also explains that a major reason why Canadian unversities have bid it farewell is due to its recent proposal to significantly increase the annual fees that it charges to universities and colleges.

I argue that the loss of Access Copyright may create a variety of problems for some groups, especially academic publishers and small, independent journals. I also argue that Access Copyright was never a neutral go-between. Rather, its Board consists of representatives from publishers and authors; none of its Board members represent universities or colleges.

In terms of further reading (for extra-keen blog readers):

-For background on the internal workings of Access Copyright, I recommend a February 2007 report written by University of Toronto Professor of Law Emeritus, Martin Friedland.

-For ongoing reading on copyright matters in general, I suggest Michael Geist’s blog.

-Finally, be sure to check out the blog of Blayne Haggart, a recent Carleton University PhD graduate (woot woot!) and currently a Visiting Scholar at the Australian National University.

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