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Update from Provost - Access Copyright v. York Decision

This message provides an update on the Federal Court decision in the Access Copyright v. York University lawsuit, as well as important information about the use of copyrighted works at the University of Guelph.  


What was the Lawsuit About?

The Access Copyright v. York University lawsuit sought to determine whether the Access Copyright Interim Tariff was mandatory, and whether the fair dealing guidelines in use by York University were fair according to the two-part test set out by the Supreme Court of Canada. On July 12, the Federal Court of Canada ruled in favour of Access Copyright and against York University on both of these questions.  This ruling has implications for the use of copyrighted works at post-secondary institutions across Canada, specifically with respect to the use of the fair dealing exception when copying works for education, research and private study.


What Does This Mean for the University of Guelph?

While the University of Guelph, along with other post-secondary institutions, uses fair dealing guidelines similar to those used at York University, the circumstances of this case applied directly to York University. Given that York has indicated that it will appeal the Federal Court’s decision, the ultimate determination of the issues and any implications for the University of Guelph will not be known for some time.

The University of Guelph values the rights of both creators and users of copyright-protected works, and has long-standing practices in place to ensure that copying practices are fair, in accordance with relevant license agreements and Copyright Act exceptions such as fair dealing. The University spends millions of dollars on acquiring and licensing educational content, including transactional licenses obtained directly from publishers and authors.

It is important that all faculty and staff are aware of their obligations with respect to copyright, and continue to follow the University of Guelph’s Fair Dealing Policy


Assistance and Support Available

Instructors preparing course materials for the fall semester are encouraged to submit them to ARES, the library's Course Reserve System, in order to ensure that current copyright requirements are met. Instructors who use print course packs should continue to arrange for their production via the University Bookstore. 

A Copyright Guide for Instructors is also available to guide faculty in the use of copyright-protected works in their teaching.

If you have any questions, please contact Heather Martin, Copyright Officer, martin@uoguelph.ca.


Charlotte Yates

Provost and Vice-President (Academic)