Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Creators v. Access Copyright

The League of Canadian Poets is on the attack against Access Copyright, an organization with more than $37 million in annual revenues believed to derive by far mostly from the public sector.

Here's a story from Quill and Quire that starts out as follows:
Over the past few weeks, the League of Canadian Poets has been publicly accusing Access Copyright – the association responsible for collecting photocopying fees for copyrighted materials and distributing the proceeds to authors and publishers – of failing to fulfill its mandate. The League’s press release states that “only a handful of large publishers are receiving significant benefits,” and that “writers and the small presses that publish most Canadian culture receive virtually nothing from the system.”
You can expect to hear more about Access Copyright when the Copyright Board finally releases its long awaited decision on Access's K-12 tariff for reprographic reproduction for 2005-2009. This hearing before the Copyright Board was held in June, 2007 with some follow up issues.

There is considerable suspense about this case for a number of reasons, including the fact that it is taking so long to hear from the Board when Chairman Vancise has previously announced a benchmark of six months pendency. In August of 2006, he stated in a speech:
If the Supreme Court of Canada can render a decision within six months of a hearing, there is no reason why this Board cannot do the same. My goal is to see that this occurs.
Chairman Vancise has also suggested in respect of this case, as anyone concerned with it will understand, that fair dealing "is an issue which will have serious implications and not one of course which I am prepared to discuss at this time."

Finally, afficianados of Access Copyright may wish to re-read Prof. Martin Friedland's critical report on Access Copyright's Distribution methodolody - or lack thereof. Regardless of one's opinion of Access Copyright, it is a good thing that this report was commissioned and made public, even if in redacted form.


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