Skip to content

New copyright fees for students

Rory McGreal highlights a disconcerting development in copyright access for Canadian students:

Titled the Access Copyright Post-Secondary Educational Institution Tariff, this levy of $45 per student, if accepted by the board, would cover all manner of copying by students and teachers, whether digital or print, video or audio, online or offline, coursepacks or class handouts, in the library or at home, in the classroom or e-learning.

As noted in the article, this planned fee would be applied regardless of use of resources. For example, if I’m a student at a Canadian university and all of the resources I use are open source, I would still have to pay the fee. Is there any other system is society where nonsense like this gets free reign? Copyright is the one domain of the legal system that disregards simple things like due process (three strikes laws with internet service providers in some countries). Apply this logic to energy or water: you pay regardless of use. Even if you have solar panels that supply your electricity needs, you still have to pay a fee to the local utility.


  1. Rob Paterson makes a good point about copyright enforcement, likening it to the forces of the counter-reformation:

    “At the time of the Reformation, printers and those that read the bible in the local language were seen as heretics and often burned at the stake.”

    Nobody expects the Spanish acquisition!

    Thursday, April 15, 2010 at 1:38 pm | Permalink
  2. Rachel Playfair wrote:

    Well, I guess the Spanish expect, or at least have to swallow, the Spanish acquistion because YES!, nonsense like this is currently happening in Spain, where the government passed a law issuing a levy on the sale of CD-ROMs and other digital copying devices. This levy goes to SGAE (Sociedad General de Autores y Editores: the organization responsible for collecting royalties for authors and editors). So, if I buy a CD-ROM although I have no intention of making an illegal copy of anything, I am still paying this “royalty” levy.

    Thursday, April 15, 2010 at 3:20 pm | Permalink