Beleaguered Access Copyright, Turning 30, Is Honored by Canadian Publishers

In News by Porter Anderson

Calling it ‘a truly essential organization for making our marketplace work,’ Canadian publishers honor the Access Copyright revenue collection agency, which is in the middle of a dispute with the education sector.

From the Access Copyright site, accesscopyright.ca

By Porter Anderson, Editor-in-Chief | @Porter_Anderson

Access Copyright Is Being Sued by Education Sector

In a show of solidarity with the nation’s English-language copyright revenue collection agency, the Association of Canadian Publishers has announced that it will award Access Copyright with an honorary lifetime organizational membership on June 5 at the ACP’s annual general meeting.

Honorary lifetime membership in ACP is presented “to an individual or group that has made a significant contribution to the ACP and to the Canadian publishing industry,” according to the association’s messaging.

Cameron MacDonald, who chairs Access Copyright’s board of directors, is to accept the award.

In its statement to news media about the plan to honor Access Copyright, the publishers’ association is quoted, saying, “Since 1988, Access Copyright (formerly CANCOPY) has worked on behalf of Canadian publishers and creators to license their work to the education, government, and corporate sectors, and has distributed more than CDN$440 million to rightsholders (US$341.4 million).

“By enabling content users to access content easily and efficiently, while also ensuring that publishers and creators are fairly paid for that use, Access Copyright provides essential infrastructure and legal support to the Canadian writing and publishing sector.”

As Publishing Perspectives readers will recall, Access Copyright in February became the subject of a lawsuit launched against it by close to 100 school boards and education ministries. After not paying the prescribed copyright licensing fees to Access Copyright for students since the implementation of the 2012 Copyright Modernization Act in 2013, these education systems are demanding a return of funds paid for copyright licensing (about CDN$2.35 per student) for the three years prior—2010, 2011, and 2012.

From the other side of the issue, the book publishing industry and community says it’s losing more than $50 million annually in fees not paid to Access Copyright because the education sector has interpreted the Modernization Act to allow them to use as many as 600 million pages of copyrighted content per year with out paying copyright fees as an “education exception” in the copyright law’s “fair dealing” stance.

“Access Copyright is a truly essential organization for making our marketplace work; if it did not already exist, we would have to invent it.”Glenn Rollans, ACP president

In announcing the award for Access Copyright, the publishers association’s president, Brush Education‘s Glenn Rollans, is quoted. saying, “”Access Copyright has worked on behalf of independent publishers for decades, and ACP has relied on the collective to create and monitor a licensing system for what would otherwise be unsupervised, unmonetized, and unenforced copying of our works beyond legal limits.

“Access Copyright is a truly essential organization for making our marketplace work; if it did not already exist, we would have to invent it.

“Through thick and thin, Access Copyright’s professional staff and volunteer board have pursued our interests and the interests of our sector, and along the way the organization has generated important revenues for its affiliates.

“We are pleased to be able to express our thanks to this hardworking and deserving organization, especially as it prepares to celebrate its 30th anniversary this summer.”


More from Publishing Perspectives on Canada’s Copyright Modernization Act is here. And more on copyright in the wider world industry is here.

About the Author

Porter Anderson

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Porter Anderson is Editor-in-Chief of Publishing Perspectives. He is also co-owner and editor with Jane Friedman of The Hot Sheet, the newsletter for trade and indie authors. He formerly was Associate Editor for The FutureBook, at London's The Bookseller. Anderson has also worked with CNN International, CNN.com, CNN USA, the Village Voice, the Dallas Times Herald, and other media.