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Update: Access Copyright and York University

Posted on Monday, May 4, 2020

On April 22, 2020, the Federal Court of Appeal (FCA) released its decision concerning the appeal in the case of the Canadian Copyright Licensing Agency (Access Copyright) v. York University.

On July 12, 2017, the Federal Court had released its ruling on the first phase of the litigation, which found that a Copyright Board tariff was applicable to York University for the years 2011-2013, and that the York University fair dealing guidelines were not fair in the context of the facts of the case. This decision was subsequently appealed by York University. 

The FCA hearings for the appeal took place in Ottawa on March 5th and 6th, 2019. York University was successful in its appeal – the FCA stated that the Copyright Board tariff was not enforceable against York University and that York University is under no obligation to pay a tariff to Access Copyright.  However, York University was unsuccessful in its counterclaim relating to its fair dealing guidelines.  

Although the appeal decision applies to York University and is based upon York University’s specific practices and situation, the University of Ottawa is reviewing this decision to fully understand its potential impact.  In the meantime, all faculty and staff should continue to follow procedures and practices communicated by the University of Ottawa relating to copyright-protected works.

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