In June of 2009 the Canadian Copyright Licensing Agency proposed tariff changes to the Copyright Board of Canada that would dramatically increase fees paid by both K12 and post-secondary educational institutions.
I work for a K12 school division that still functions under the Access Copyright License. For the most part the proposed changes requested by Access Copyright [proposed tariff] have not impacted the use or expected use of this agreement. To be perfectly honest…very few pay it any attention at all. I think this is because [generally speaking] classroom teachers use the key resources that they are provided by the division [textbooks, workbooks, teacher guides, etc] and do not look to producing a great deal of additional support materials. I am sure there is a lot of searching for and finding/using content from the internet and elsewhere [resource based learning] but I don’t see a lot of concern or inquiries about copyright. With an increased emphasis on the use of social media, student and teacher publishing of student created content, collaborative online work and connecting students to authentic audience I am sure this lack of or seeming lack of concern might change. From the division perspective the June 2009 application for school tariff changes could mean a 3 fold increase [5.16 to 15.00 per student] in fees paid. I would imagine that when and if the tariff increase is approved this increased cost will be a significant issue.
I do see the cancellation of the Access Copyright agreement by the University of Manitoba as a positive move. The Provost’s [Joanne Keselman] comments in a letter to the university community and repeated in the Manitoban that leaving the agreement provides an opportunity to modernize both the resources and services provided by the university demonstrates a move in the right direction. Along with this new approach The Copyright Modernization Act Bill C11 and a renewed focus on fair dealing should serve to clarify copyright life for educational institutions.
I would also hope that this renewed focus on copyright [because of real or expected increases in copyright costs] would result in educational institutions taking a renewed and much deeper look at openness generally and the creation and use of OER specifically. I have said it before but educational reform [from my K12 perspective] seems to demand this. A move to inquiry learning, personalized learning, collaboration and student publishing to authentic audience requires a much more flexible content ecosystem than what is now provided by traditional publishing and licensing relationships. Simple technology and online services now provide the means for K12 institutions in particular to harness the power of OER and openness. A move to outcomes-based curricula provides additional support as outcomes don’t demand a specific path for achievement. Creativity, innovation and collaboration should re-emerge as paths to student success and content creation should increase as a result.