Top court to examine payment for classroom use of copyrighted works

OTTAWA — The Supreme Court of Canada will delve into the issue of fair payment for the use of copyrighted works in the classroom.

The top court agreed to hear the case in response to appeals from York University in Toronto and Access Copyright, which administers reproduction rights for published works, collects royalties and distributes them to copyright holders.

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After licence renewal negotiations between York University and Access Copyright hit a stalemate, York briefly complied with an interim tariff but then opted out, introducing its own "fair dealing" guidelines.

Under the guidelines, York faculty and staff paid no licence fees for a significant amount of material.

The Federal Court of Canada allowed Access Copyright's action to enforce the interim tariff, but York successfully contested the point in the Federal Court of Appeal.

Both Access Copyright and York then asked the Supreme Court for a hearing on elements of the Court of Appeal decision.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Oct. 15, 2020.

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