Growing Criticism Of Copyright Deal Signed By 2 Canadian Universities

April 2012

The Canadian Association of University Teachers has condemned a licensing agreement for copyrighted materials signed by both the University of Toronto and Western University. The association says the deal costs too much money (a fee of $27.50 for each full-time-equivalent student) and allows Access Copyright, the licensing agency, to monitor the correspondence of academics for possible infringement of the terms. In addition, it says that with the country’s Supreme Court expected to clarify the educational use of copyrighted works, the universities should have waited. The University of Toronto and Western University announced the agreement Monday, saying it allows faculty members and students access to millions of copyrighted publications and provides legal protection from copyright infringement.

Professors at both universities have begun to publicly criticize the move. Ariel Katz, a University of Toronto law professor and director of the Centre for Innovation Law and Policy, wrote Wednesday on his blog that it is a step backward for the institution, saying American educators have been willing to fight for principles that their Canadian counterparts appear willing to give up.