Canadian Magazine Industry News
5 April 2012,     TORONTO
Access Copyright expanding tariffs to cover digital uses
Publishers may soon receive more money through a tariff to schools to offset revenue lost through photocopies of copyrighted publications.

Access Copyright, the Canadian Copyright Licensing Agency, has filed a proposal to raise per-student tariffs (Canadian elementary and secondary schools) from the current $5.16 to $5.70 rate. The tariffs, minus Access Copyright's operating expenses, are distributed to affiliate publishers and creators.

When asked if the tariff increase will mean more money for publishers of copyrighted material including magazines, executive director Maureen Cavan offered, "Eventually. This is just a tariff application that's been filed."

The previous tariff included published material such as textbooks and newspapers as well as magazines, while the new rate will include sheet music, song books and activity books. The $5.16 tariff was in effect from 2005-2009, while the new rate would kick in next year.

Digital uses are now also included in the tariff, part of the justification to raise the rate to $5.70, said Cavan. Digital uses in schools covers scanning from published print material to a digital format for distribution to students. "It's a small amount at this point, but it's growing," she said.

But, "If a magazine, for instance, offers material online and it's free and open access, that's not covered under this license," she added.

School boards report to Access Copyright on an annual basis about the number of full time equivalent students they have, and the tariff is calculated against that number, offered Cavan.

The $5.16 rate was established "through a long and drawn out process at the copyright board, with lots of evidence that also counted the number of copies made throughout 900 schools across the country," she said. "We're not going to do that whole research exercise again, we do ongoing research that is less demanding."

Meanwhile, the base $5.16 tariff "is still not absolutely settled, it went to the Supreme Court in December," she said. "We expect a ruling from the court in the coming months." She said that ruling will set the bar for future rates.

Publishers and content creators are covered under the license, she said. "When a magazine article is copied, if the creator is freelance and affiliated with Access Copyright we pay 100 percent of the royalties available to them (after operating expenses)," said Cavan. "Otherwise, if they're not affiliated, we send 100 percent to the publisher."
— Jeff Hayward
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