Copyright in Education

In an increasingly digital world, understanding of copyright and licensing is a fundamental capability for educators. Knowledge of copyright, IP and licensing enables educators to develop and create new learning activities and resources.

It is important to recognise that whilst there are many resources covering Copyright for education available on the web, the focus of their message will depend on whose interests they represent. It is good practice to check the provenance of copyright resources. For example check who creates, funds, or sponsors them. 

There is a great deal of misinformation about legal rights and responsibilities when using digital resources. This can be confusing for teachers and students. Downloading resources has often been compared to theft. Even though perfectly lawful if the licences are adhered to. Similarly making videos using short clips from other sources has been treated in the same way.  Copyright laws vary in different countries and jurisdictions. There is no getting away from the fact some aspects of Copyright are complex. A good guide is to use Creative Commons Licences and read guidance carefully. Resources providing impartial and easy to understand advice to education are listed below.

Why use Creative Commons?

CC licences are straightforward and  can help students think more deeply about the resources they are using. Working with Creative Commons encourages students to reflect on how they would like their work to be shared and used. The Creative Commons Education open education program works across all levels of education and with industries and governments.

Useful resources for Copyright in Education

British Library Guide to Copyright detailed selection of commonly discussed Copyright issues and questions.

Creative Commons Licences all the CC licences explained in an easy to read and understand format.

Copyright Exceptions UK,  This UK Government web page lists the exceptions to copyright that allow limited use of copyright works without the permission of the copyright owner.

Copyright Licenses This UK Government page gives guidance on copyright licences and how copyright affects schools UK schools.

Copyright and Schools information and guidance from Licencing bodies.

Copyright  this substantial highly detailed Wikipedia article, with full references and links to many Copyright issues. 

Copyright Free and Royalty Free these terms are often misunderstood and lead to confusion. This short article explains the differences.

Explaining Copyright  Eugen Stoica, Scholarly Communications Officer, University of Edinburgh; explains the relationships between Copyright – Creative Commons licences – Open Access; and why these are important for teaching and education. 

Open Education for Schools - Guidance and Resources Leicester City Council released an accessible range of guidance and resources designed to support school staff in finding, attributing, remixing, creating and sharing open education resources. (October 2014) Produced by Björn Haßler, Helen Neo, and Josie Fraser, and published under the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 licence. Editable versions are available for others to build on.

Teaching Copyright information and resources  for teachers from the EFF (Electronic Freedom Foundation).

Teachers reading aloud/sharing  some advice and information on reading copyright books on social media or livestream.

6 Copyright concepts your K12 students should know although from the U.S. Copyright Office, this student centred article includes principles relevant to most Copyright jurisdictions

The Great Wave, a study of how different museums apply different licences as to how one can use a work of Art, and that there “is a significant gulf in content quality, degrees of open access and customer experience between museums today”. 

A company called Pixsy is threatening copyright lawsuits against people who used creative commons images. This page offers some advice an helpful suggestions if you come across this.

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