Fair Dealing in Higher Education

Many of Procom’s introductory communication courses have  been slowly transitioning from textbooks to digital readings of one sort or another.  We save students money on a course requirement that some are hard-pressed to afford and many are reluctant to read.

I haven’t seen much evidence that students value print versions of communication textbooks even if they shelled out as much as the cost of two months of cell-phone expenses.  Tests and exercises compel reading, no matter the medium.  This has been the case for me in CMN 314, which uses Richard McMaster’s recommended online textbooks and CMN 288, which uses various articles and chapters via D2L’s one-stop course readings.

In her copyright lecture to my CMN 288 classes, Ann Ludbrook, Ryerson’s Copyright and Scholarly Engagement Librarian, warned that we’re in danger of losing this access to free online materials if copyright law is amended to curtail fair dealing. She urges students and teachers to persuade the government to reconsider:

Right now the government is gathering opinions about things that were added to the Copyright Act in 2012 (like fair dealing for education). This is the copyright review year which consists of consultations which will wrap up in early 2019. Right now they are planning a process of public consultations in face-to -face meetings (one of them will be in Toronto) and calling for feedback from Canadian citizens in the way of written submissions, and consulting specific interest groups. 

The Committee invites Canadians to submit written briefs not exceeding 2,000 words. Briefs may be sent to: indu@parl.gc.ca

For more information on how to prepare a submission, please consult the Guide for Submitting Briefs to House of Commons Committees. 

Additional information can be found in the INDU news release, Ottawa U law professor Michael Geist’s summary update and former university administrator Michael Proulx’s op-ed on the potential impact on the free exchange of ideas.

You’ll also want to check out Catherine Jenkins’s submission to Fair Dealing ©anada, a site launched by the Association of Research Libraries. She provides both the student’s and teacher’s perspectives.

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