Access Copyright Suing York

From an Access Copyright press release:

Monday, April 8, 2013: Canada’s writers and publishers take a stand against damaging interpretations of fair dealing by the education sector.

Access Copyright is taking legal action—on three fronts. The actions focus on York University, ministries of education, school boards and post‐secondary institutions that copy—and promote the copying—of copyright‐protected materials without a licence.

Read the full press release here.


  1. Michael Geist’s view on Access Copyright’s announcement is here. The article’s title is “Access Copyright’s Desperate Declaration of War Against Fair Dealing.” He analyzes AC’s arguments. His view – he explains why – is that AC is wrong, again.

    Some excerpts from the piece:

    Months after the Supreme Court of Canada delivered a stinging defeat to Access Copyright by ruling for an expansive approach to fair dealing and the government passed copyright reforms that further expanded the scope of fair dealing, the copyright collective responded yesterday with what amounts to a desperate declaration of war against fair dealing.

    While the lawsuit has yet to be posted online, the Access Copyright release suggests that the suit is not alleging specific instances of infringement, but rather takes issue with guidelines it says are “arbitrary and unsupported” and that “authorize and encourage copying that is not supported by the law.”

    To suggest that a modest fair dealing policy based on Supreme Court jurisprudence and legislative reforms is “arbitrary and unsupported” is more than just rhetoric masquerading as legal argument. It is a declaration of war against fair dealing.

    It’s useful reading for those interested in the issue.

  2. David Collier-Brown

    This reads like a variant on a SLAPP suit: the entities harmed by the SCC decision sue entities of moderate means who are advantaged by the decision (:-))

    I expect school boards to be absolutely limited in their ability to pay for a defence, York relatively limited, and the ministries of education variably limited by their terms of reference.


  3. I expect there will be more than enough money to defend. The defences of the school boards and gov’t bodies defences will be paid (ultimately) by the Crown. There might be insurance, too, depending on what’s alleged. Also, I expect that Access Canada will have to find lawyers(s) prepared to take this one under some sort of contingency arrangement. That probably means some jurisdiction shopping to determine the most favourable location; probably because the action will be commenced as a class action. There’s likely already (if not it’s on the horizon) a beauty contest going on amongst the leading plaintiff class action firms to see who’ll scoop the prize.