Brock University is one of the latest to sign the much-contested Access Copyright licence developed by the Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada.
“A review of Brock’s copying practices and resources suggested that the licence was necessary to give the university time to develop the structures, processes and supports needed to operate effectively without a licence in the future,” Murray Knuttila, Provost and Vice-President Academic, said in a university-wide statement.
“In the interim, the license will protect faculty and students from copyright infringement claims,” he said.
Professors and students at universities that sign onto the licence are able to reproduce works that are in Access Copyright’s repertoire subject to certain limits.
Instructors can copy and distribute:
· * up to 20 percent of a work
· * an entire newspaper or journal article
· * an entire book chapter, as long as it is not more than 20 percent of the book
· * a single short story, play, poem, or essay from a larger work
· * an entire entry from a reference work such as an encyclopedia
· * an entire reproduction of an artistic work such as a drawing or painting from a larger work; and
· * an entire newspaper or journal page.
All Canadian universities that have signed the licence are charged a flat rate per full-time student for this licence, usually passed down to students in mandatory fees.
What has proved to be unpopular with many institutions is a jump in this fee to $26 per student in 2011, up from $3.38 - plus an additional 10 cents per page for course packs - per student in 2010.
Also, there are some stipulations that prohibit instructors and students from keeping copies of journal articles in personal libraries, computers or e-mail accounts. The licence also defines copying as providing Internet links to works.
Universities that have decided not to sign the voluntary licence include University of British Columbia, University of Saskatchewan, Carlton University, York University, Queen’s University and the University of New Brunswick.
Brock joins the University of Toronto, University of Western Ontario, the University of Ottawa, and McMaster University, among others, in signing the licence.
“Although the licence has some flaws, it does offer Brock some real benefits, including the right to share materials with students in a variety of ways,” said Chabriol Colebatch, Brock University’s copyright co-ordinator and legal adviser.
She says that, assuming the materials to be copied fall within the scope of the licence, “instructors will now be able to scan book chapters and post them on Isaak/Sakai.
“They’ll also be able to post journal articles from journals for which we don’t have a licence,” she said. “And they continue to have the right to create print course packs, and print reserves and classroom handouts.”
Access Copyright is a not-for-profit group set up to collect revenues from licenced Canadian universities, businesses, libraries and other institutions for the photocopying of print works. The organization distributes these revenues to publishers, authors, and other rights holders.