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Federal Court of Appeal decision is mixed news for educators and students

(Ottawa – April 24, 2020) The Federal Court of Appeal has ruled that the collective licensing agency Access Copyright cannot enforce its tariffs against York University or any non-licenced user, but also repeated a lower Court’s misconceptions about fair dealing for education purposes.

“In finding that Access Copyright’s tariffs are not mandatory, the Court recognizes that educational institutions can opt out of collective licensing arrangements and choose other legal routes to copy and use works, including through site licensing, open access materials, transactional licences and through fair dealing,” said CAUT Executive Director David Robinson.

CAUT and the Canadian Federation of Students (CFS) intervened in the appeal arguing against mandatory tariffs and the lower court’s ruling on York University’s fair dealing purposes. The Federal Court of Appeal, while reversing the decision on mandatory tariffs, failed to correct the lower court’s flawed comments on fair dealing, which contradict previous Supreme Court decisions on the user rights of students and faculty.

“This decision is critically important for choice in educational licensing of copyrighted material, but it remains equally important that the education community keeps working to defend fair dealing,” added Robinson.

Media contact:

Lisa Keller, Communications Officer, Canadian Association of University Teachers; (c) 613-222-3530; email –