Turk: CAUT stands firm in deal opposition

The article (“University offers copyright deal clarity,” March 1) highlights the need for clarity on the surprise agreement between Western, the University of Toronto and Access Copyright, but fails to provide answers to key questions about the deal:

Why was the deal negotiated in secret without consulting the academic community at Western (including the Access Copyright Working Group)?

Why didn’t Western wait a few months to take advantage of pending changes to the Copyright Act that will likely strengthen educational use rights?

What broader political and bargaining damage did the negotiators cause by pulling Western from the previously united university front against Access Copyright?

Why do the negotiators believe the agreement does not define a link to an electronic document as a copy, when the agreement clearly states that “Copy … means … posting a link or hyperlink to a Digital Copy”?

Given the deal defines various forms of electronic communication as copying and also requires copying at Western to be monitored, how will the ensuing electronic surveillance not impact professor and student privacy and academic freedom rights?

Why did the negotiators impose a $27.50 on students when much of the copying referenced in the deal duplicates existing uses covered by statutory rights such as fair dealing or direct site licenses with commercial content providers?

We agree there is a need for clarity. Answers to the above questions would be a good start. In the meantime, the Canadian Association of University Teachers stands by its statements on the deal and will remain active in our efforts to protect academic staff and students.

 James L. Turk
Executive Director, Canadian Association of University Teachers