Why The Situation Is Likely to Get Worse for Access Copyright (But Not Necessarily for Authors)

Michael Geist, Weblog, May 27, 2011
Commentary by Stephen Downes

Michael Geist has just completed a three-part series on Access Copyright (Part One, Part Two, Part Three, or the whole thing in one PDF). In charge of collecting royalties for authors due as a result of institutional copying, Access Copyright is becoming increasingly irrelevant and increasingly inefficient. As documented in Part Two, "Access Copyright was left with approximately $7.8 million to distribute last year, less than the $8.7 million it spent on administrative expenses." It collected $33.7 million. He offers the following suggestions:
- reduce the cost of administrative overhead
- cut back on the size of the non-profit's board, and stop paying members so much
- instead of rejecting pay-per-use licensing, shift toward it
- become more transparent
I don't know. Will we even need Access Copyright in the future? As Geist writes, "Access Copyright's problems are not necessarily an author problem. Authors will still be paid to create OERs (that is what the $2 billion is for in the U.S.) and receive growing licensing revenues from electronic access subscriptions on campuses... Moreover, the U.S. experience demonstrates there are significant licensing opportunities in the corporate market."
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