Laurier needs to replace Access Copyright

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Last Thursday, Wilfrid Laurier University decided to move forward in signing the Access Copyright agreement they had with the Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada (AUCC) on the new pricing model for copyright materials such as course packs and, as outlined in the new agreement, various digitized materials. Instead of charging the base full-time equivalent (FTE) fee of $3.38 plus the $0.10 per page fee, the new agreement will charge students an upfront $26 fee regardless of whether or not students buy course packs.

For students who don’t buy many course packs, this may increase the cost of copyrighted materials. Throughout the province the agreement has been receiving considerable criticism, not just from student organizations but also, from universities themselves. University of Waterloo and University of British Columbia are examples of schools that have chosen to opt out of the agreement to pursue other methods.

While it is unfortunate Laurier has agreed to this new model, their cost-sharing model of paying 20 per cent of the FTE fee is somewhat reasonable from their end. However, Laurier should take concerted efforts before the end of the new agreement in 2015 to re-evaluate their position with Access Copyright, and they should – with the way Access Copyright is conducting itself as of late – get rid of their partnership altogether.

Students  pay enough for course packs and other academic materials and while the Bookstore claims this will contribute to a 30 per cent decrease in course packs; it’s hard to say at this point if that would actually happen. Furthermore, Access Copyright’s movement to online materials is unclear, and appears to now be charging students and faculty for materials that are already available through other online databases.

Although the blame for this new agreement should be heavily put on Access Copyright, we, as students, have to put pressure on the university to make sure they pursue alternative methods in the future. It is time for Laurier to wake up and ensure students don’t get charged for more unreasonable costs in the future.


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