The Writers’ Union’s Letter to the University of British Columbia

Via the Writers’ Union of Canada

On September 11th, 2013, the University of British Columbia sent a broadcast email to its entire community announcing “the price of course packs created and sold through the UBC Bookstore has been reduced by an average of 33 percent…” This cost reduction is in large part the result of new copying practices and guidelines at the university, claiming that fully 10% of a published work, entire chapers, entire stories, etc. can be copied and used in course packs with no permission required, and no compensation to the writer of the content.

For decades now, uses such as this have been fully paid for through collective licensing, and tens of millions of dollars has flowed back to deserving writers. The Writers’ Union of Canada Chair, Dorris Heffron today sent this letter to UBC’s President. We await his response.

As well, there’s a very important point to be made about UBC’s creative writing department itself. The decision to NOT pay for a collective licence was not made by the UBC Creative Writing Program. In fact, it is TWUC’s understanding they have protested the decision and continue to do so, and have worked very hard to clear copyright for their own course packs. The excellent and dedicated writers on faculty at UBC are, in a sense, being doubly victimized with an untenable professional position.

Please feel free to share this page and this information as widely as you like. The letter has already received media attention.

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