Access Copyright is a collective organization representing the
copyright interests of publishers and creators. The collective offers
copyright licences that allow certain limited uses of works in the
collective's repertoire. The use of collective licences as part of
copyright management policy was common in post-secondary education
administration until 2010, when many universities opted out of a
contractual relationship with Access Copyright.
The growing movement towards online open access publishing and
Creative Commons public licensing has made information more widely
available without requiring payment and with fewer restrictions on
use. The addition of education to the list of fair dealing purposes in
the Copyright Act, along with the inclusion of provisions allowing for
non-commercial user-generated content and use of materials available
on the Internet, means that educational institutions can more
confidently rely on the user rights afforded by the law. The 2012
Supreme Court decision in Alberta (Education) v Access Copyright
confirms that exceptions to copyright infringement in the legislation
should be interpreted broadly.
I will discuss the innovations in information technology, legislative
changes, and court decisions that have led some to question the
utility and economy of collective licences.