Nfld. & Labrador

9 N.L. schools randomly chosen to go over copyright records tied to legal spat

The schools have been randomly selected, and the issue relates to a legal battle that has pitted most provincial education departments against the national group that represents writers, publishers, and their works.

Legal fights pits most provincial education departments against Access Copyright

The work behind the collection of records is 'substantial and requires considerable human resources,' says the Department of Education. (iStock)

Nine schools in Newfoundland and Labrador have been randomly selected to provide information on the use of copyright-protected material being used by teachers and staff.

The selected schools need "to conduct an extensive search of all records and documents relevant to the federal court order," according to a statement posted on the website of Holy Heart of Mary in St. John's, one of the chosen schools.

It was decided that closing the schools for a day was the best way to gather and copy and format the "thousands of pages of relevant documents in a short period of time," said the statement provided by the Department of Education.

One school was closed last week, two are closed Monday, and the others are expected to close in the upcoming days. 

"The collection of documents related to the case is a requirement of a court order and is mandatory. The work behind the collection of records is substantial and requires considerable human resources," according to a statement provided by the Department of Education on Monday morning. 

CBC requested an interview on the issue last week, but the department would only provide a statement via email. 

Fees for copying published works at centre of dispute

The court battle has pitted the Ministries of Education for all provinces and territories — except Ontario, British Columbia and Quebec — and all school boards in Ontario against Access Copyright, a national organization that represents thousands of Canadian writers, visual artists and publishers, and their works.

The organization licenses the copying of the different material to educational institutions, businesses, governments and others, according to the Access Copyright website.

The educational organizations claim they overpaid fees for the copying of published works, but Access Copyright filed a counter-claim seeking payment of the tariff. 

A N.L. department of education spokesperson said, "As the matter is before the courts, we are unable to provide further information."

The nine schools in N.L. were randomly selected. (Garrett Barry/CBC)

The N.L. schools randomly selected to comply with the court order are:

  • Amalgamated Academy.
  • Baccalieu Collegiate.
  • Cape St. Francis Elementary.
  • Corner Brook Regional High.
  • Holy Heart High School.
  • Holy Trinity Elementary.
  • Mount Pearl Senior High.
  • St. Kevin's High.
  • St Peter's Junior High.

Read more from CBC Newfoundland and Labrador

Clarifications

  • A previous version of this story stated all nine schools were closed today. That's not the case and was based on incorrect information sent by the Department of Education.
    Dec 02, 2019 3:48 PM NT
  • A previous version of this story indicated other schools across Canada were closed for the same reason as N.L. schools. While other provinces are involved in the legal action, only schools in this province are closed today, specifically, to gather the information as per a court order.
    Dec 02, 2019 2:50 PM NT

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