York University statement on recent court decision regarding Access Copyright


TORONTO, May 5, 2020 – York University has received and reviewed the decision of the Federal Court of Appeal with respect to our appeal in the Access Copyright litigation.  We have and continue to take matters of copyright law very seriously.

We are pleased that the Court dismissed Access Copyright’s claim against York University recognizing that educational institutions using copyrighted material are not required to operate under Access Copyright tariffs in order to meet their copyright obligations.  Users are entitled to rely on other means to ensure compliance including obtaining individual permissions from creators, purchasing library licenses and acquisitions, paying transactional licenses and applying fair dealing when appropriate.

Fair dealing is an important exception to copyright infringement that maintains the proper balance between the rights of the copyright owner with the interests of users, who require access to copyrighted material to pursue their research, studies and/or education.  Our fair dealing guidelines were designed to reflect that balance and are used within a system in which the University spends millions of dollars per year on licenses and acquisitions.

We are disappointed that the Court dismissed our appeal on the Fair Dealing Guidelines, and we are reflecting on their reasons.  Fair dealing remains a crucial users’ right in the educational sphere.  We believe students should not be required to pay, directly or indirectly, for material that falls within the fair dealing exception.

Additional information regarding the decision will be provided as needed.