WTF? Two Canadian Universities Agree to Harebrained, Cockamamie Copyright Agreement

This is a scratch-your-head, double-WTF moment.

Access Copyright, a Canadian collection organization that generates revenue from schools through professors photocopying copyrighted works, has somehow convinced two major universities to agree to an absolutely absurd notion: that hyperlinking is identical to photocopying.

Again: two Canadian universities have agreed with Access Copyright that posting a link, such as in an email, is the same act as making a physical photocopy. And that’s just the beginning.

The University of Toronto and the University of Western Ontario—now rebranded Western University—will now have to pay $27.50 annually per full-time student for the ability to licence hyperlinks in emails. Say what? And you just know that cost will be directly passed onto the poor students. But wait, there’s more: Access Copyright also demanded that they be able to monitor academic staff email for this purpose. And, unbelievably, the universities agreed to this as well! Say what what?

Not everyone at the University of Toronto, for one, is happy about this insanity. (Actually, if you take a poll, I imagine the overhwhelming majority aren’t.) And the timing is certainly bizarre, too: the Supreme Court of Canada is currently in the process of determing whether Access Copyright can even be allowed to push for such ridiculous claims. Which means there’s simply no incentive whatsoever to reach an agreement with Access at this point in time.

In the words of Bart Simpson, “Ay, caramba!”