Update on K-12 Legal Action

Thursday, July 12, 2018

On July 11, 2018, Access Copyright served and filed its Statement of Defence and Counterclaim in the action commenced by all school boards in Ontario and the Ministries of Education for all provinces and territories in Canada except Ontario, British Columbia and Quebec.

In the Statement of Claim served on February 16, 2018, the plaintiffs claim that the K-12 educational sector overpaid fees for the copying of published works and seeks the return of those fees.

The Ontario school boards and Ministries (except Quebec), however, have not paid any royalties under tariffs certified by the Copyright Board of Canada since 2012 despite recognition from the Copyright Board that, after taking into account fair dealing and other deductions, K-12 schools copy 150 million pages of copyright-protected works each year that require compensation. This has deprived creators and publishers of an important source of income that helps ensure they can continue to create Canadian content for the classroom.

Access Copyright has defended the action, stating that the plaintiffs have copied works that require them to pay the tariffs, have failed to make those payments, and had no right to “opt out” of the tariffs. Access Copyright also seeks payment of the royalties set out in the tariffs for the period commencing January 1, 2013 onwards. To date, after adjustments for amounts previously paid, the plaintiffs owe over $24 million in royalties to creators and publishers whose works are copied in K-12 classrooms.