Access Copyright’s Lawsuit against York University

Universities have been slow in modernizing how they fund educational material, but have finally been moving away from post-payment (primarily monopoly rent seeking) to pre-payment where the authoring, editing and other works is paid up-front with the results shareable royalty-free.  Doing things as post-payments has allowed third parties to extract huge amounts from educational budgets, and it is far past time that universities took responsibility for these costs downloaded on students and the taxpayer.

Not surprisingly, the legacy publishers and author devotees to the past are fighting against this modernization.   Access Copyright is yet again trying to make their taxation scheme mandatory, this time suing York University claiming that their interpretation of fair dealings is incorrect.

What Universities are doing is moving to direct payments through electronic databases, and funding of Open Access.   In that tiny fraction of cases where direct licensing is not possible or practical, they are relying on fair dealings  -- something that was clearly intended to be exercised given what was stated recently by the government and by the supreme court.

Not surprisingly, Access Copyright is again falsely claiming to be representing the interests of authors : soft of like McDonalds claiming to represent the interests of cattle.  Access Copyright doesn't represent authors, but one narrow business model which some authors may wish to exercise.  Imposing this business model on all authors is clearly not in their interests.  There will be many cases where authors will make more money with pre-payment schemes (open access) or through direct licensing of databases than they ever could through so-called "collective licensing".  These are all opportunities which Access Copyright wants to take away, and charge authors hefty "administrative" fees along the way.

This isn't the universities trying to get something for nothing out of the pockets of authors, but Access Copyright trying to do so.

Access Copyright isn't expected to win this case in the courts, and is likely simply trying to confuse educational authors into thinking that it is them and not the educational sector that has their better interests.   Hopefully an increasing number of authors will see through this farce, and will see Access Copyright for what it is: people trying to impose business models on authors which allow Access Copyright to pickpocket these authors.

See also: CARL Condemns Access Copyright’s Lawsuit against York University