UBC ends deal with Access Copyright, freelance writers lose out

Joining more than a dozen other large post-secondary institutions across the country, the University of British Columbia has ended a long-standing contract with Access Copyright, a non-profit organization that aims to guarantee fair compensation for writers and publishers when their works are copied. UBC says that the organization was demanding “dramtically” higher fees and wanted to monitor copying activities on campus.

In the Vancouver Sun, Matthew Robinson reports that this development could negatively affect students and teachers, who are now individually responsible for following copyright laws; if they need to copy a work not licensed by UBC,  they must contact content producers themselves. Asking faculty and students to decipher the laws and handle copyright negotiations is unrealistic, and the same goes for authors and people working in the publishing industry, according to  Greg Nordal, president of Nelson Education, which publishes the work of thousands of Canadian academics. He said he’s worried that few authors and publishers will be compensated when their works are copied.

Sandy Crawley of the Professional Writers Association of Canada expressed concern that freelance authors will lose out. “It’s pretty hard to make a living as a writer … you need every source of revenue there is,” he said.

Access Copyright has made attempts to include payment for digital copying in their comprehensive licences with universities. While negotiations were ongoing, the Copyright Board set an Interim Tariff (last amended in April), which is what prompted a number of schools to end their deals with Access Copyright. Read more about that here.


Posted on September 12, 2011 at 10:24 am by editor · · Tagged with: , , , ,

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