How does copyright make you feel?

Photo by James Bennett used with permission

This was the question we have been asking of delegates at some recent events and our answer is ‘kind of a bit exhausted if I am honest!’ We’ve just finished a run of conferences these last two weeks, presenting at the CILIP Copyright Conference on 7th April in London and then running a workshop and presenting a long paper at LILAC in Swansea on 10th April.

At both events we were presenting the findings from our phenomenographic research into librarians’ experiences of copyright. The slides from the CILIP Copyright Conference are here. We carried out the research last year using group interviews and have devised four categories of description, to help us understanding the varying experiences that librarians have of copyright. One of the overriding experiences is that they find copyright to be a problem, for a whole host of reasons, and will often try to avoid dealing with it. This category describes the experience of a large number of librarians, and even those who manage to start to get their head around copyright, still can find it frustrating, contradictory and something of an imposition on them. What we hope we can do is devise some appropriate strategies for teaching librarians about copyright in a way that is less about following rules and more about understanding the risks so their practice and experience can be more empowered. That is the key ambition behind our idea to develop a new copyright education course, working with CILIP and the Information Literacy Group.

Copyright literacy t-shirt design
Copyright N Literacy: Appetite for Risk

The conferences were also a chance to show off the Copyright Literacy 2017 t-shirt. For those of you who have seen us before, we’ve created a tour t-shirt for the past 2 years, partly as a gimmick, but this year’s t-shirt had a twist, as the design is based on a parody of the album cover, Appetite for Destruction by Guns N Roses. We entitled it, ‘Appetite for Risk’ and the design was developed with Kent-based artist Ross J.K. Art and used customised images of the UK Copyright Literacy logo. For those who don’t know there is an exception in UK law under Section 30A of the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act for parody, caricature and pastiche.

The conferences were also an opportunity to collect some additional data, using the less well known data collection method of ‘paper aeroplanes’. Delegates were asked to write how copyright made them feel on a piece of paper and then to make their best paper aeroplane and literally throw it at us. Of course, health and safety precautions were closely followed, meaning we wore safety goggles during this time. There was a lot of excitement in the room at both events and we’ve collected a huge amount of additional data we can’t wait to start analysing. Here’s a tweet from one of the participants at the session at LILAC:


The workshop we ran at LILAC was called ‘Creative Approaches to Copyright Education‘ and people were given a scenario and had to devise some training using a lesson plan and a set of cards that helped them choose an appropriate teaching method and learning theory to underpin their approach. Our biggest issue in this session was we had under-estimated how many people might want to attend the workshop, so our groups had around 10 people in them. However we have some fantastic examples of creative approaches to teaching aspects of copyright to different audiences.

The final contribution we made at the conference was on Tuesday afternoon when we updated delegates at the Lagadothon (LILAC’s games competition) on our game, The Publishing Trap, which is ready for play testing. After the session a small group came along to play one or two rounds. This game is really exciting and we hope to be able to invite people to come along and play it over the summer.

We’re going into a super busy period for both of us (Chris has his exam to finish his PGDip in Copyright law and I am starting my new job at City), so may not be able to share all the findings and outputs for a couple of months, but certainly intend to update everyone. We were also delighted to find out over Easter that the paper we submitted to Library Management, writing up the phenomenographic research has been accepted for publication, subject to some minor amendments. What great news!

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