CARL members split on AUCC-AC Model License

While the Canadian Association of Research Libraries (CARL) has itself been silent on the issue of the AUCC-Access Copyright Model License, most of their member institutions have not signed it to date. CARL membership is restricted to the major research libraries; there are 23 university library members outside of Quebec.

So far only nine eleven CARL affiliated universities have signed a new agreement with Access Copyright.  They include the University of Western Ontario and the University of Toronto who had signed their own side-agreements with Access Copyright in January, as well as seven nine who have since signed the AUCC Model License (Victoria, Alberta, Manitoba, McMaster, Brock, Ryerson, Ottawa, and Dalhousie). While there has been no identifiable announcement from URegina, it appears from the context of their copyright pages that they have also signed the agreement.

It should be noted that of these nine seven, Ottawa, Victoria and Dal had indicated serious concerns with the terms of the license, indicating an intention not to renew the contract on its termination in 2015.

In contrast,  12 CARL member institutions (UBC, Simon Fraser, Calgary, Saskatchewan, Windsor, Waterloo, Guelph, York, Queens, Carleton, UNB and Memorial) have indicated they are not signing the model license. [statements compiled here]

Four Two other CARL member universities (Alberta, Calgary, Regina and Simon Fraser) have not yet indicated whether they are signing the agreement. Alberta and Calgary had previously signed a letter of intent, but neither has actually signed the license. Calgary has since announced it will postpone the decision until the fall. It would be hard to imagine any more schools signing the license in light of the SCC decisions, but anything is possible, and these school could still go either way. [Note: UCalgary and Simon Fraser have since rejected the agreement as well]

Really very few CARL member institutions seem at all enthusiastic about the deal and even the schools that have presented the license in the most positive light could still shift their position going forward. Western and UT are in particularly good positions to indicate such a change since their separately negotiated licenses will terminate at the end of 2013, not 2015 as under the Model License. Statements from either of these schools indicating they will not be renewing their licenses would indeed be very significant shift.

It will be interesting to see what CARL has to say about the fair dealing rulings, and whether this might perhaps embolden them to break their silence on AUCC’s Model License. CARL is an associate member of AUCC, and given the realities of institutional management structures, it would be unusual for CARL to publicly diverge with them on such a high-profile issue. But if ever there were a case to do so, this would be it insofar as the Model License is so at odds with the values of librarianship.

To date, no statement on the Supreme Court decisions has come from either CARL or AUCC. Of all of the sectors in the research university community, one would expect the libraries to assert more leadership on this issue, yet it seems like the major national library associations have all but abandoned this crucial aspect of the copyright file.

Note: With the recent rejections from Calgary and Simon Fraser, the roster of the CARL schools is complete with 11 signing and 12 rejecting.  Watch for a new posting…..

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