As faculty members, we have dual interests in copyright protection. Many of us create copyrighted materials including textbooks, videos, podcasts and expect our work to be protected.
As educators, many of us find it occasionally useful to use pieces of copyrighted materials in the classroom for illustrative purposes – a few pages of a text document, part of a musical composition, a few minutes of video. This is known as “fair dealing”. However, the legislation took some time to catch up to the spread of digital media.
Until 2012, the University of Saskatchewan held a license agreement with Access Copyright, a service that acted as an insurance policy against copyright violation lawsuits. Following several other universities, the U of S chose to manage its own, recognizing the declining use of printed coursepacks and increased usage of digital material, and the high cost of the agreement with Access Copyright, and a 2012 Supreme Court Ruling that made fair dealing easier.
Since then, the publishing industry, in decline as it adjusts to the new realities of digital media has demonized the so-called misuse of copyrighted material by educators, and engaged several universities in lawsuits. York University, one of the first to cut ties with Access Copyright in 2011 due to rising costs, was ordered to pay for copyrighted materials in 2017.
Educate yourself on this issue. Read CAUT’s public service announcement and watch this video (or show it to your students) to understand this issue. You can also sign CAUT’s petition to urge Parliament to maintain fair dealing.