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 librariesâ€”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-dayÂ dealings with the organization.
The piece provides someÂ history on Access Copyright, explaining how it has functioned. The piece also explains that aÂ major reason whyÂ Canadian unversities have bid it farewell isÂ due toÂ its recentÂ proposal to significantly increase the annual fees that it charges to universities and colleges.
I argue that the loss of Access CopyrightÂ may create a variety of problems for some groups, especially academic publishers and small, independent journals. I also argue thatÂ 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 readingÂ (for extra-keen blog readers):
-For background on the internal workings ofÂ 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 recentÂ Carleton University PhD graduate (woot woot!)Â and currently a Visiting Scholar at the Australian National University.