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Access Copyright: Education sector forces Canadian creators to defend why their works should not be used for free

Released by Access Copyright Thursday, February 22, 2018

Each year, millions of pages of books, magazines, journals and newspapers are copied for use in K-12 classrooms without fair compensation to the creators and publishers of those works.

On February 16, 2018, all the school boards in Ontario and the Ministries of Education for all the provinces and territories (except Ontario, British Columbia and Quebec) filed an action against Access Copyright. The claim states that the K-12 educational sector overpaid fees for the copying of published works and seeks the return of those fees.  

The claim disregards the fact that the Copyright Board of Canada has recognized that K-12 schools copy 150 million pages of copyright protected works each year that require compensation. The Copyright Board of Canada is a federal body responsible for establishing the royalties to be paid through mandatory tariffs for the use of copyright protected works in specific sectors, including education. The Board set an annual rate for copying in K-12 classrooms of less than $2.50 per student for the years 2013 and beyond.

For the price of a cup of coffee, educators and students have legal access to a rich array of content that they can select and customize to their needs. Yet the Ministries of Education (outside of Quebec) and the Ontario school boards claim they do not have to pay the fees certified by the Copyright Board and have deprived creators and publishers of this important source of income since 2013.

“We continue to remain open to engaging in a meaningful dialogue with the education sector to find a way to work together on this issue. Canadian students deserve the finest curated content to enrich classrooms and ignite a passion for learning,” Roanie Levy, CEO and President of Access Copyright, said. “The professionals who create those works depend upon fair compensation so that they can continue to contribute outstanding Canadian content for our classrooms.”  

On February 16, 2018, the Ministry of Education of British Columbia also filed an action, but to date, it has not served its Statement of Claim on Access Copyright. Updates will be posted to the website.

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