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Access Copyright files counterclaim against school boards across eight Canadian provinces and three territories for unpaid copyright tariff royalties

Date Announced

January 01, 2019

Lead Office



30.00 Million CAD

Access Copyright files counterclaim against school boards across eight Canadian provinces and three territories for unpaid tariff royalties. The dispute, involving approximately C$50 million in tariff royalties, plus significant annual additional royalties (C$8 million per year), centers around the school boards' position that they are “no longer operating” under Access Copyright's tariffs even though schools make millions of copies of Access Copyright's member works per year within the terms of Access Copyright's published tariffs. The school boards have claimed that Access Copyright owes them C$25 million as a consequence. Access Copyright contends that the boards owe it over C$25 million in tariff royalties. This is a crucial case for Access Copyright and requires a creative approach to address infringement issues in relation to a Canada-wide practice of mass copying.

Access Copyright is a not-for-profit organization which represents thousands of Canadian writers, visual artists and publishers, to license the copying of their work.

McCarthy Tétrault LLP assisted Access Copyright with the counterclaim with a team led by Barry Sookman that included Dan Glover, Sarit Batner, and Martin Brandsma. McCarthy Tétrault also advises Access Copyright and the Canadian Publishers’ Council on copyright reform industries affecting the industry as a whole.