Recently, Access Copyright, a group supposedly representing writers, artists, and so on won a Federal Appeals Court ruling that will see them extract about $60 million from various Canadian school boards.
So here we go again. Instead of buying new textbooks, hiring EAs, providing smaller class sizes, opening closed classrooms, etc., we’re going to be sending a cheque to access copyright. And while I have no problem with writers, artists, and the like making money off of their works, I do have a problem going back years and years, and trying to extract money. There’s not much that can be done about this now, as they have won in court. This wouldn’t be the first time that I’ve seen something that was apparently perfectly legal, being morally repugnant.
These days, we have many college and university grads, leaving their post-secondary education, deeply in debt. The last thing we need is to be adding yet another cost onto these students. And the costs will be passed on. Nobody rides for free.
Now here comes the interesting part. This same group, apparently buoyed by their recent success, has applied for an increase in fees related to copyright from universities, including fees for providing hyperlinks to copyright material. If they are successful in this application, just what is the next step? If I post a link from my blog, to a site that contains written material, do I have to pay copyright fees? If you post a link from your Facebook page, to my blog, to the same page, do you pay copyright fees?
I think it’s safe to say we’re just not on a slippery slope here; we’re on a dive holding onto an anchor! I’ll be keeping an eye on this one, and reporting back as things evolve.