At a time when reliance on printed material is decreasing and electronic resources are commonly used at all levels of academic life, Access Copyright is proposing an outdated scheme that imposes completely unjustifiable barriers on the academic community. This agreement would see copyright licensing tariffs increase from $3.38 to $26 per students. Not only is the money spent on this deal money that cannot be used for the betterment of our campus community, but we are also deeply concerned that this fee will ultimately be passed on to the students and workers themselves.
The agreement also heavily restricts the access to and the sharing of scholarly material, prohibiting the storage of articles and other content, and limiting the transmission of academic material between students and teachers. Shockingly, this obsolete scheme clashes with routine use of modern technology, keeping academic staff and students from transmitting or storing copyrighted material on any computer network not operated by the University. In other words, usage of cloud computing, independent email services, or USB storage devices will be a thing of the past.
In addition, Access Copyright's proposal imposes unrealistic surveillance requirements to monitor copying and access to various content, which poses a significant threat to privacy and academic freedom. Even more troubling is how Access Copyright is bullying universities into signing the agreement, threatening to investigate and audit institutions who do not sign the deal. This behaviour, akin to a bully intimidating kids for their lunch money, is completely unacceptable.
Because of these issues, the agreement proposed by Access Copyright is both unfair and ill-suited for any modern academic institution. Student and academic organizations across the country have outlined many alternatives to the Access Copyright agreement, and GSAÉD urges the University of Ottawa to consider these options instead. Such alternatives include dealing with copyright licensing in-house through our own Copyright Office, directly negotiating site licences with providers, and moving toward open access publishing.
It is clear that signing this agreement is a bad deal for all parties concerned apart from Access Copyright. Outside of an inflated price tag, universities would have to meet unrealistic and troubling monitoring requirements, and both students and academic staff would be prevented from easily accessing and sharing knowledge - the very reason our campus communities exist. GSAÉD therefore calls on the University's administration to reject the Access Copyright agreement, and seek out alternatives that best support the ongoing innovation and research integrity of our academic community.
The GSAÉD Executive
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