End of copyright contract could spell U of C fee hikes

A change in the way the University of Calgary handles copyright issues could mean more expensive books and course materials for students.

A change in the way the University of Calgary handles copyright issues could mean more expensive books and course materials for students.

Along with several other Canadian universities, U of C officials backed out of a longstanding arrangement with Access Copyright, an organization that handles copyrights for scholarly books and articles. The group was demanding a steep fee increase.

"In many cases universities will be spending a million dollars more to have the same copyright access as they do today," said U of C chief librarian Tom Hickerson.

Hickerson — who is also president of the Canadian Association of Research Libraries — said managing copyright issues on its own will mean new costs that the school will have to pass along to students.

But the new contract terms that Access Copyright was demanding would have been even more costly, he said.

Universities are committed to protecting copyright and want to support academic publishers, but they have to carefully manage the public money which funds them, Hickerson said.

He said a rumoured change coming to federal copyright legislation could ease the growing burden on universities.