Creating a copyright compliant atmosphere

I have just been to a few sessions run by the Australian Copyright Council on copyright. The presentations covered sections under the Copyright Act that specifically deal with schools. As an educational institution we have some special abilities when it comes to using, copying and sharing resources. Beyond this we also have a responsibility to maintain a copyright compliant atmosphere.

You will find more information under E for Education – Copyright Basics on the Browse by A-Z page on the ACC’s website.

The good news (AV, text and images)

There are various sections of the Copyright Act that apply specifically to schools and the way that we can use resources. This involves our ability to copy and show TV and radio that has been broadcast on both free-to-air and pay TV under Part VA. We also have provisions to show AV material to our classes under Section 28 and in various extra-curricula scenarios through the school’s Co-curricular Licence. For more information on this, the ACC have a specific fact sheet that you can download in E for Educational – Using AV Materials on their website. Regarding print material, through Part VB we have a CAL licence that means that we can copy and distribute an amount of textual material. Furthermore, we can reproduce images in digital form and images that are associated with text in print form.

In addition to this we have various rights regarding the hand writing of copyright material (as much as you can endure really) and the ability to use resources in and from exams.

Our students also have special privileges under the Research and Study clause in the “Fair Dealing” section of the Copyright Act. This means that they can use copyright material without permission as long as it is for the purpose of research or study.

How much can we copy? (Text and images)

Under the CAL licence, we can copy 10% of a book or one chapter, whichever is greater. We can also copy one article from a periodical and any other articles on the same topic (that is, if New Scientist has two articles on space exploration, you can copy both or if Space Exploration magazine has two articles on the Hubble telescope, go for it but you can’t just copy the whole of a Space Exploration magazine).

It gets a bit more complicated with uploading this information to eWorkSpace. We can only put 10% of a given work on their at one time so, if two subjects want to use different parts of the same work (and this comprises more than 10%), it is not allowed. To get around this, we can either make that information alternately available (one in Semester 1, one in Semester 2; or, one for two weeks then the next) or give one part of the book out as a handout and put the other part on eWS.

More good news (AV, text and images)

There are also stipulations under the act that mean that, if a work is unable to be purchased in a reasonable time and for a normal commercial price, we can usually make a copy of it (except DVDs).

The neutral news (Copyright expiry)

Copyright lasts for a certain amount of time depending on the resource but this is – even for the shortest time – still a really long time (25 years) so unless you are using something because it is old, you should probably not be holding out for things to fall out of copyright so that you can give a copy of the entire thing to your students.

The bad news (DVDs and videos)

Certain resources have particularly strict and binding copyright rules applying to them. In particular, videos and DVDs that we have purchased and other items that have terms and conditions that you have agreed to.

DVDs in particular can be shown to a class in their entirety and streamed over the network but they cannot be copied under most circumstances. This is because to do so would necessitate breaking their Technological Protection Measures. Videos on the other hand do not have TPMs and so we are allowed to copy them if our copy is damaged, lost or stolen as long as we cannot purchase another copy in a reasonable time for a normal commercial price.

The Australian Copyright Council states on their website that people who are found to infringe copyright may be liable to provide compensation and those who do so for commercial purposes may face criminal charges. There should be no reason that someone should, through the course of conducting their work at the school be liable for damages through infringing copyright or face criminal charges. If you want more than one copy of something that is protected under copyright, buy that number of copies.

If you specifically agree to Terms and Conditions for a resource (when you buy it or as part of viewing it) then you are bound by them. This does not include those warnings at the start of DVDs and videos that say that they cannot be viewed in schools – because we have the legal right to under Section 28.

The maybe good, maybe bad news (YouTube)

What you can do with YouTube clips depends wholly on the rights given to you by the producer. If the producer has used material that infringes copyright, like having a song in the background that they don’t have the rights to, any copies of this would also be infringing copies. If the producer has the rights to everything in the clip then they can stipulate what you can do with it. This means that they may say that you can use or copy it in the text associated with the video. If you would like to use a YouTube clip in your class, read the information about it or, if there is no information about how the clip can be used, contact the producer and see if they will let you show it, copy it, turn it into an homage to Freddy Mercury, etc.


About timthelibrarian

Tim Harwood is a Teacher Librarian and eLearning enthusiast.
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