The Supreme Court of Canada is seen in Ottawa, Thursday, June 17, 2021. The Supreme Court of Canada says a copyright collective cannot force York University to pay specific tariffs for the use of published works in the classroom. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Justin Tang

The Supreme Court of Canada is seen in Ottawa, Thursday, June 17, 2021. The Supreme Court of Canada says a copyright collective cannot force York University to pay specific tariffs for the use of published works in the classroom. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Justin Tang

Copyright collective can’t force tariffs on university, Supreme Court rules

The Federal Court of Canada allowed Access Copyright’s action to enforce the interim tariff

The Supreme Court of Canada says a copyright collective cannot force York University to pay specific tariffs for the use of published works in the classroom.

In its unanimous decision today, the high court says the law does not empower the Access Copyright collective to enforce royalty payments set out in a tariff approved by a federal board if a user chooses not to be bound by a licence.

The Supreme Court heard the case in response to appeals on distinct aspects from both York and Access Copyright, which administers reproduction rights for published works, collects royalties and distributes them to copyright holders.

After licence renewal negotiations between York and Access Copyright hit a stalemate, the university briefly complied with an interim tariff approved by a federal board 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.

The Canadian Press

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