Wary profs ditch course material amid confusion of copyright dispute

Postsecondary students and faculty across Canada can add one more point of confusion this year to the usual back-to-school chaos: copyright, reported The Record (Waterloo Region) Sept. 16.   

Nearly three dozen colleges and universities – including the University of Guelph, University of Waterloo, York University and many colleges and universities in western Canada – are pulling out of the body that collects money on behalf of authors and publishers, forcing a sudden copyright crash course on campus.  

The resulting wariness means students aren’t getting the same course material they received in the past as guarded professors choose to simply eliminate material from classes they teach rather than risk a lawsuit.  

Fragile economy could reduce police awareness of wrongful convictions: report

Although police officers are more aware of the risk of wrongful convictions than ever before, today’s climate of economic uncertainty could see that heightened awareness drop, a report released Thursday from Canada’s top prosecutors suggests, reported the Ottawa Citizen and other major dailies Sept. 15.  

The report is a followup to a 2005 report from the Federal, Provincial and Territorial Heads of Prosecutions Committee, which explored common causes of wrongful convictions and offered recommendations on reducing their likelihood.  

The causes outlined in their 2005 report include tunnel vision, eyewitness misidentification, false confessions, use of in-custody informants, and inappropriate use of forensic evidence and expert testimony. 

The update looked at how the recommendations have been implemented in policy, finding police officers and prosecutors have made major strides in attempting to foster a culture that prevents wrongful convictions. 

Education has been the most important stride made since the report was released in 2005, the authors wrote. For example, the report has been added to the curriculum of several Canadian law schools, including the University of British Columbia, the University of Manitoba, and [York’s] Osgoode Hall [Law School] in Toronto. 

On air

  • Gail Fraser, a professor in York’s Faculty of Environmental Studies who researches environmental management of oil and gas extraction, criticized Nova Scotia’s muted reaction to the inquiry into the 2009 helicopter crash off Newfoundland that claimed 17 lives, mostly offshore oil and gas workers, in an interview aired on “CTV Morning Live” in Halifax and radio news programs in Newfoundland and Nova Scotia Sept. 15. 
  • York student Rachel Dineen and Michael Stock [BBA ’10], co-founder of textbookrental.ca, talked about a new service that promises students a chance to save on course materials by renting them, on “Canada AM” (CTV-TV) in an interview also aired on “CTV News” and “Noon News” (CJOH-TV), Ottawa, Sept. 15.