Copyright-free material edging out Canadian educational texts

Nigel Hunt, CBC, Jun 19, 2016
Commentary by Stephen Downes

We may finally have reached the tipping point with respect to open access educational content (it's not the sort of thing I can put on my resumé but I derive tremendous satisfaction from this). "A few years ago, Emond Publishing sold more than $1 million worth of books to high schools annually. Now, said president Paul Emond, it's dropped to about $100,000. 'That's what falling off a cliff in the publishing business looks like,' he said." The publishers claim that schools are just copying copies of the books. But what's really happening is that they are using open access materials and depending on 'fair dealing' for the rest. The writers, meanwhile, are concerned about the lack of access to Canadian materials. "Their institutions are insisting that they use only free material, and a lot of free material is coming from outside of Canada." Quite so. And I've always said that an open access approach to learning content should be supported by direct public contracts to authors to support Canadian content and other social objectives. 

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