U of C prof wins copyright case
By Kerry McArthur
University of Calgary Faculty of Education professor Nancy Arthur and Athabasca University professor Sandra Collins have been granted damages following the unauthorized publication of their book by Calgary-based publisher Detselig Enterprises Limited/Temeron Books Inc. in 2005.
According to the book’s co-editors, the dispute with Detselig began when they noticed errors introduced by the publisher’s copy editor, which created additional drafts and a significant lag in the printing schedule. In her oral decision, Provincial Court Judge Hunt-McDonald stated that “At the eleventh hour, the defendants (Detselig) produced an amended contract to the plaintiffs (Arthur and Collins) for execution. There were some amendments of the original provisions of the contract, but also there was a requirement that the plaintiffs pay $6,000 as a condition of the defendants going ahead with publication.” The two professors refused and soon after Detselig cancelled their publication arrangement.
The textbook’s writers then self-published Culture-Infused Counselling in July 2005. However, they subsequently realized that Detselig had published and been distributing the book in CD-ROM form since February that same year. According to the Judge Hunt-McDonald, “Notwithstanding the cancellation and the defendants’ written reply dated February 2005 that the defendants would not proceed with publication of the book, the defendants proceeded to produce a CD and claimed that Detsileg owned the copyright.”
The judge later continued, “I am satisfied that the defendants clearly breached Section 27 (1) of the Copyright Act in publishing the plaintiffs’ book without their consent as owners of the copyright.”
The judge then noted that both Arthur and Collins “lost eight months of their professional lives due to the defendants’ actions” and that there was “much time and effort expended by two professionals in bringing this matter to court.”
“We have received such a positive response about our book from graduate students, and practicing psychologists and counselors,” says Arthur. “The book involved collaboration with several Canadian colleagues and we felt it was also important to protect their scholarly work.”
The book received the 2006 Book Award from the Canadian Counselling Association.