OCUL Statement: Access Copyright vs York University

  • Posted on: 18 April 2013
  • By: Anika

For immediate release

- April 18, 2013

The Ontario Council of University Libraries is disturbed by the recent news of a lawsuit which Access Copyright initiated on April 8th against York University. The Canadian Copyright Act was only recently amended. These amendments and recent Supreme Court judgments have guided Ontario universities, including York University, to provide fair dealing guidelines that reflect the existing and reasonable consensus within the education community in response to these legal realities.

OCUL agrees with academic colleagues across Canada that it is very regrettable that Access Copyright has chosen this litigious route to question the clarity of the copyright law and the recent jurisprudence. It is also regrettable that we are forced to interpret this as an intimidating tactic to persuade Ontario universities to agree to the Access Copyright licence.

“Through OCUL alone, Ontario university libraries spend more than $15 million each year to purchase and license access to published digital content. These consortia licences provide for legitimate use of materials by our university communities,” said Margaret Haines, OCUL Chair. “We are highly conscious of copyright law and the rights of creators and publishers and in addition to our licences, we also make considerable payments for copyright clearance. Our libraries are very active in ensuring that students, faculty and researchers are well-informed as well.”

The OCUL libraries are committed to working together to maximize our collective expertise and resources. We enhance information services in Ontario and beyond through collective purchasing and shared digital information infrastructure. We serve a community of more than 435,000 students, as well as their faculty and librarians.

York University Libraries is a member of OCUL. The University’s Fair Dealing Guidelines for York Faculty and Staff (11/13/12) can be found on the University’s


Kathy Scardellato, Executive Director
kathy.scardellato [at] ocul.on.ca