Copyright Watch 2012 -- December Update

The bulk of the Copyright Modernization Act was proclaimed in force in November, and is now the law of the land. A few of the highlights of the new legislation for educators are as follows:

  • Education, parody, and satire have been added to the existing list of uses -- private study, research, and criticism --  that may be considered fair dealing.
  • Public performance rights (payment for which was often used to justify greatly inflated "educational/library pricing" by DVD vendors) are no longer needed to show a video in an educational classroom setting.
  • Regarding content online, "publicly available material that has been legitimately posted for free use on the Internet by copyright owners" can now be incorporated in instructional materials, etc. 

The new Act has also reduced the financial risks of accidental infringement in an educational setting, by lowering the statutory damages limit for non-commercial infringement to $5,000. That said, it remains very important -- both for legal and ethical reasons -- for all members of the campus community to exercise reasonable care and due diligence in using copyrighted materials.  We continue to refer you to our Fair Copying page for more information on best practices, and to contact us directly with any questions or concerns you may have: Simon Lloyd ( * 566-0536) or Donald  Moses ( * 566-0460) would be pleased to speak with you; faculty and current students can also contact the Subject Librarian for their department. 


In closing this series of updates on The Year That Was in Copyright, we note that UPEI continues to operate without an Access Copyright license. Not a single Canadian university has announced intentions to sign the much-criticized model license with Access Copyright since August, and even universities that less than a year ago were cutting special deals with AC -- most notably UofT -- are now moving towards increased reliance on fair dealing. More broadly, there are now clear signs of a move by the entire Canadian educational sector away from Access Copyright:

  • In September, legal counsel for the Association of Community Colleges of Canada (ACCC) issued an advisory that the model license which ACCC had recently concluded with Access Copyright -- and which was virtually identical to the model license offered to Canadian universities by Access Copyright and AUCC -- actually offers no significant benefit to member colleges:

"I have concluded that the majority of dealing authorized by the ACCC Model Licence no longer requires permission or payment of copyright royalties. There is therefore little value in signing the ACCC Model Licence."

  • In December, Access Copyright confirmed that the Council of Ministers of Education (CMEC) have advised AC that K-12 schools across Canada will stop making tariff payments to Access Copyright in January 2013.