Universities, student reps share thoughts on copyright

CFS, AUCC submit recommendations to Parliament on Bill C-32


The Canadian Federation of Students (CFS) and the Association of Universities and Colleges Canada (AUCC) both submitted comprehensive papers to Parliament this week outlining their position on copyright modernization. In their papers both organizations, for the most part, parallel each other in their recommendations for Bill C-32.

In their submissions to the Legislative Committee on Bill C-32, the CFS and AUCC each push for education to be included in the list of categories covered under fair dealing, the reduction of statutory damages for non-commercial copyright infringement, and lifting the ban on breaking digital locks, among other points.

The two organizations also recommend that the requirement to destroy records of online lessons be removed, so that their content can be reused for future courses.

“The course development costs associated with online learning are substantial. Requiring that lessons be redeveloped over and over again would waste educational resources and discourage the use of online learning in Canada,” said the AUCC in their submission.

CFS echoes this point in their paper, stating that the requirement “is an unnecessary and particularly onerous clause.”

“Throughout the course of a degree or diploma program students take a series of courses, all of which build off one another. Preventing a student from keeping the materials they used in classes prior will severely hinder learning for these students while in their studies,” the paper reads.

AUCC advised that  “education” should be linked to an “education institution” under the fair dealing categories list, to address the concern that the term education is “too vague”, and could lead to unfair or excessive copying.

CFS, by contrast, supports the broad manner of the term “education”. Their paper also recommends adding the words “such as” to the beginning of the list of categories covered under fair dealing, in order to adopt a more “flexible” definition of the provision.

“This approach represents the most clear and simple means of ensuring that users have reasonable access to copyrighted works, and that creators are compensated for the use of their work. In addition, such an approach would ensure that the law continues to be relevant regardless of changes in technology,” reads the report.

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Universities, student reps share thoughts on copyright

  1. I think it’s crucial to be very, very careful about defining fair dealing. Above all else, we need to ensure that “fair dealing” doesn’t facilitate theft or deprive rights holders of their right to be compensated for use of their work. Thinking big picture, there needs to be an incentive for new educational materials to be developed. If that incentive doesn’t exists, this will have an incredibly damaging effect on our future students.

  2. Allowing “education” as a fair dealing clause will do the following:

    1) create a huge legistlative battle between publishers and content consumers to put clarity around the circumstances in which fair use applies in the education market


    2) kill the publishing industry and the associated opportunity for academics and artists to legally earn money from their content in the educational market

    Either way will mean loss of millions of dollars. The only winners will be lawyers.

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