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AUGSA responds to Access Copyright/AUCC model licensing agreement

The Athabasca University Graduate Students’ Association does not support the new model license agreement between Access Copyright and the Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada, saying that it is a bad deal for students who will be forced to pay more for their education.


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AUGSA responds to Access Copyright/AUCC model licensing agreement

The Athabasca University Graduate Students’ Association does not support the new model license agreement between Access Copyright and the Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada, saying that it is a bad deal for students who will be forced to pay more for their education.

Edmonton, AB (AUGSA.com) April 26, 2012 – The Athabasca University Graduate Students’ Association (AUGSA) is opposed to the recent model agreement signed by Access Copyright and the Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada (AUCC). Under the agreement, universities will pay $26 per full-time-equivalent student for the right to copy and distribute copyrighted materials. This is a significant increase from the previous agreement which required universities to pay a flat rate of $3.38 per student plus 10 cents per page for photocopied course pack materials. While universities are increasingly moving toward digital resources and photocopies are being used less frequently, this new deal represents a price increase of nearly 600% per student.

While AUCC is presenting this deal as a win because the new rate is less than the $45 per-student fee that Access Copyright had originally sought, it represents a dramatic increase in the cost of education. AUCC is withdrawing from the ongoing Copyright Board Post-Secondary Tariff hearing, and is essentially abandoning those of its member institutions who have chosen not to sign the new deal.

The increased costs associated with this new deal are not limited to the $26 per student. Universities which sign the new agreement will be expected to follow highly onerous monitoring, surveillance, and reporting requirements. As a result, universities will bear significant administrative costs. Ultimately, most universities will be forced to pass these costs on to students in the form of higher tuition or mandatory non-instructional fees.

Furthermore, the AUGSA feels that the timing of this agreement is highly suspect. Bill C-11, a new piece of federal copyright legislation which will increase educational fair use of copyrighted materials is likely to be passed soon. The decision to sign an agreement now appears to be little more than a way to force universities to pay more for access than would be necessary upon the signing of Bill C-11 into law.

AUGSA supports Athabasca University’s decision not to sign the new agreement and to continue to oppose Access Copyright’s demands. Like AU, the AUGSA supports increased use of Open Access journals and Open Educational Resources (OER). Unfortunately, the new agreement between Access Copyright and AUCC may have a negative impact even on those institutions that choose not to sign in.

“As a supporter of Open Access journals and Open Education Resources,” said AUGSA President, Amanda Nielsen, “I worry that this new agreement will hurt the Open Access movement. Universities which sign onto the new agreement have little incentive to make use of Open Access journals or OER, which will limit the expansion of OER, thus limiting the available resources for those universities who prefer to use Open Access materials rather than signing the new agreement. This agreement makes it difficult for both graduate students and faculty members to share and discover their findings.”

AUGSA will continue to support the move toward increasing Open Access to educational resources, and encourages other student associations to work with their respective universities and colleges to oppose Access Copyright’s demands. For more information about AUGSA’s stance on the new agreement between AUCC and Access Copyright, please contact Amanda Nielsen, President, at president@augsa.com.

About AUGSA: The Athabasca University Graduate Students’ Association provides student services and representation for over 3000 AU graduate students through university and government relations with the mission that graduate-level education at AU is accessible, affordable, and of outstanding quality.

Media contact:

Amanda Nielsen, President
Athabasca University Graduate Students’ Association
10818 Jasper Avenue
PO Box 35092
Edmonton, AB T5J 0B7
(780) 920-5001
president@augsa.com
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