Federal Court of Canada decision on the case Access Copyright vs York University 

On July 12, a judgment was issued in Access Copyright vs York University. The Court ruled against Toronto’s York University for copyright infringement. 

The university opted out of  Access Copyright’s licence in 2011, arguing that reproduction of copyright material made in the institution, fell under fair dealing and that they had implemented internal guidelines to ensure that fragments of protected material being copied were small enough to be considered “fair dealing”, which led Copyright Access to sue the university. 

The ruling will have an important impact in clarifying the application of fair dealing in the context of the educational system since the Court concluded that the guidelines do not meet the test for fair dealing established by the Supreme Court of Canada. The Court also found that tariffs set by the Copyright Board are mandatory and confirmed that there is no opting out.

In a communication released by Copyright Access, Roanie Levy, CEO & President of Access Copyright, said that “The Court struck the right balance between the public good that is education and the need to reward creators to ensure that this public good continues to be well supported by quality Canadian content. Up until today, the state of the law regarding fair dealing left creators and the institutions that copy copyright protected works in a state of uncertainty.”