Concordia and the rest of Quebec’s universities have signed a new 17-month agreement with COPIBEC, the not-for-profit collective representing authors and publishers.
The new agreement includes a reduction of fees charged to students (from $25.50 to $21.00 per full-time equivalent student) and grants Quebec’s universities the right to reproduce 15 per cent of a work to include in course packs, up from the 10 per cent allowed by the previous agreement. It also allows for the preparation of course packs in both digital and printed formats.
Under the new agreement, all digital or paper coursepack materials must still be prepared through the Concordia Bookstore, which reports to COPIBEC and obtains copyright clearance where required. Digital coursepacks can be made available to students only through a secure computer network. However, students are now permitted to make electronic or paper copies of documents transmitted to them electronically onto the local drive of their computers or tablets.
Bram Freedman, Concordia’s Vice-President, Institutional Relations and Secretary-General, sat on the negotiating team in the discussions with COPIBEC. He explains that the team representing Quebec’s universities was able to negotiate a better agreement for a lower fee, and for a shorter-than-normal duration because it comes at a time when the laws surrounding copyright in Canada are in a state of flux.
“Recent changes to the Copyright Act, as well as a very important Supreme Court of Canada decision in the Summer of 2012 have thrown into question the whole necessity of even having this type of agreement with a copyright collective for educational institutions,” he says.
Several universities in Canada have already taken the position that they are no longer required to sign an agreement with a copyright collective, and are imposing limits based on their understanding of the legal concept known as “fair use.” Quebec’s universities have decided to wait the 17 months covered by the latest agreement to see how the legal situation plays out.
Freedman reminded faculty members at Concordia that using outside services for the printing or digitization of multiple course materials or directing students to such services exposes the individual and the university to liability for violation of the Copyright Act. “It’s the personal responsibility of every member of the university community to comply with the Copyright Act and the COPIBEC Agreement,” he says. Failure to do so can result in personal liability and exposure to the severe penalties provided for in the Copyright Act.
• New agreement (in French only)
• Concordia Bookstore
• Office of the Vice-President, Institutional Relations and Secretary-General