Students oppose new copyright regime at UWO and U of T

OTTAWA, Feb. 9, 2012 /CNW/ - Students are dismayed that two universities have secretly made an agreement with the copyright licensing company Access Copyright to spy on students, restrict access to learning materials, and impose new copyright fees.

On January 30 the University of Toronto and University of Western Ontario signed a back room deal with Access Copyright that governs copying activities on the campuses. The deal defines emailing hyperlinks as copying; places a new fee of $27.50 on all full-time students and mandates the monitoring of student emails to assess which articles and books are being read - a serious violation of privacy rights.

"The agreement is terrible," said Roxanne Dubois, National Chairperson of the Canadian Federation of Students. "It is preposterous for these universities to sign away the rights of students behind our backs.  It is even more outrageous that students are being imposed with unfair and undemocratic fees in the process."

Students are at the forefront of a move away from traditional copyright licensing regimes towards a system based on fair dealing (the limited right to copy works without permission or payment when it is fair), open access (free on-line academic journals), and direct pay arrangements with content providers.  The Toronto/Western deal is a move in the wrong direction, occurring when many other universities are opting out of or challenging their arrangements with Access Copyright.

"The administrations of these two universities entered into discussions and concluded agreements that will directly affect students, but did not have the courtesy to inform us that the negotiations were occurring, let alone consult with us about decisions that would have a profound impact on our rights" said Roxanne Dubois,  National Chairperson of the Canadian Federation of Students.  "We call on these two universities to cancel the agreements. All other post-secondary institutions must defend the right to fair and reasonable access to copyrighted works for educational purposes".

The Canadian Federation of Students is Canada's largest student organisation, uniting more than one-half million students in all ten provinces. The Canadian Federation of Students and its predecessor organisations have represented students in Canada since 1927.

SOURCE Canadian Federation of Students

For further information:

or to arrange an interview:
Roxanne Dubois, National Chairperson, 613-232-7394, chair@cfs-fcee.ca

Clara Ho, Vice-President University Affairs at the University of Toronto Students' Union
647-896-6888, vpua@utsu.ca

Desirée Lamoureux, Vice-President Student Service, Society of Graduate Students at the University of Western Ontario, 226-678-8703, sogs.services@uwo.ca


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