Copyright fees stifle knowledge in school

RE: Copyright fee could rise, Sept. 15

In this day and age, there is no more copyright, only copyduties. Open access and fair use, especially when it comes to an educational setting like Wilfrid Laurier University, should take primacy rather than gouging students for more than twice the rate for copying as is. What is the value of a copy exactly?

Does copying not do away with the exchange-value of the work (already somewhat problematic) and, by extension, proffer the importance of use over value once the work is written? Be it with e-books or journal articles, films or MP3 files, what can be copied is limitless, emancipatory. Ironically, institutions like Access Copyright (and analogues like the RIAA, MPAA, and so on) are the real thieves, proposing such a blanket tariff. It is sharing, not stealing.

Students would be more likely to return to authors and theorists, and most likely pay to read them, pending they have the opportunity to be exposed to them without financial reproach. Works under a creative commons license already engender such eagerness to develop new ideas within electronic communities, so long as intellectual credit is provided (do we not do the same thing when we cite when writing essays?).

Why not treat journal databases or e-libraries the same way? This is the network of knowledge-founding now. “It’s not where you take things from—it’s where you take them to.” Yes, let us stunt the possibility of new and inventive forms of knowledge because there is profit to be had. Bravo.

—T.A. Pattinson

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