Confused and frustrated about copyright in Wales

I was delighted to attend the CILIP Cymru Wales 2017 conference last week after being invited to give a keynote entitled Copyright,  Education and Librarians: privileges and rights. It was largely a report on the phenomengraphic research Chris and I have been doing about how copyright is experienced by librarians. I spent the journey to Wales analysing the data we collected from the CILIP Copyright Conference on 87 paper aeroplanes which were thrown at us last month. So I arrived with my head full of the torment, frustration and anxiety that copyright seems to cause many librarians. Llandudno was a great antidote though, as it’s a lovely laid back Victorian seaside town, with a beautiful sea front which the conference venue (and my hotel) overlooked.

During my session I also experimented using polling software, I had created a poll using both Poll Everywhere and Mentimeter, the free software, to be sure it would work. I asked the audience to tell me how copyright made them feel and the results are below and fairly similar to the data we’ve collected to date. Copyright is a source of confusion and frustration. There are some positive emotions in there as well, but being scared, intimidated,challenged, unsure, wary, vulnerable were all words that people used and match the first category in our research findings: that copyright is a problem and largely avoided.

The conference tackled several other really key legal issues for libraries, included data protection on day one (sadly I wasn’t there for David Teague’s talk) and privacy, which was the topic of Paul Pedley’s talk on day two, and is the subject of his doctoral research he started just a few months ago at City, University of London. Paul is well known for his books on copyright, and the training he offers on this and on data protection, but privacy issues are increasingly important for libraries. It was a fantastic, friendly conference and great to meet some really enthusiastic Welsh librarians. I was particularly excited to hear about the librarians from Bangor who plan to translate Copyright the Card Game into Welsh and we hope to return to Wales to run a session for them later this year.



Copyright literacy and LIS students

Hot on the heels of Eurovision last night, we are delighted to announce that the Copyright Literacy International team will be launching a new survey, to investigate levels of copyright literacy among Library and Information Studies students. This survey will compliment the work the team have done to investigate copyright literacy in the library and information profession in 14 countries. So far the following countries have signed up: Turkey, France, Bulgaria, UK, Romania, Norway, Hungary, Portugal, USA, Lithuania and Finland.There is still time to get involved and so any countries that wish to join the study are welcome to get in touch using our contact form.

In our experience, knowledge about copyright law is often covered fairly briefly in professional qualifications for librarians, archivists and those in the cultural heritage sector. However, this research will add to our knowledge of the sector and also provide international comparative data. The original survey found that many newly qualified staff in the UK said they had had little or no training in copyright. We also spoke to CILIP to gather data about the extent to which library schools include copyright in the curriculum – it was a mixed picture. It can be difficult to predict the types of queries that might arise given the wide range of roles that exist in libraries, museums and galleries. However, what seems clear is that copyright will continue to be an issue that library and information professionals need to have a good working knowledge of, to effectively undertaken their work. If you work in a library school, then look out for details of the survey and please do encourage your students to complete it!

Embedding copyright literacy: reflections on not being a copyright advisor

I’ll be heading to Llandudno in North Wales on Thursday to give a keynote at CILIP Wales on Friday morning. Chris will be sitting an exam on the same day for his PGDip in copyright law at King’s College London. I’ll be sending him lots of positive vibes and the talk will be drawing on our recent research into librarians’ experience of copyright. We spoke about this research at the CILIP copyright conference and at LILAC last month and it’s been great to share our findings with different audiences. The keynote on Friday is going to be about copyright and education and the role of librarians, thinking about their own knowledge about copyright and what they teach others about it. But the central message is about tackling librarians’ anxieties surrounding copyright that lead then to avoid it, or act in very cautious ways.

Since our last talk I started my new job at City, University of London as Senior Lecturer in Educational Development so I have been feeling out my comfort zone a fair bit recently, as each day brings something new, from attending exam boards to marking student work. I thought it would be useful to share a few thoughts on my reflections after 3 weeks of not being a copyright advisor. However, in fact in many ways despite all the differences, some things haven’t really changed and in the last few weeks I believe even more in embedding copyright education into an institution and teaching about copyright as part of digital and information literacy. I’ve been surprised to find although my job title has changed I am drawing on all my knowledge and experience of being a copyright advisor almost every day.

I’m now teaching on an MA in Academic Practice and my students are in the main lecturers at City in the School of Arts and Social Sciences. I have some lovely departments including Psychology, Music and Journalism. However, I also share my office with the Educational Technologies team. I probably shouldn’t have been surprised at the number of times copyright has come up in round about ways! In the last few weeks I’ve discussed:

  • Lecture recording policies and how staff feel about students recording them (sometimes without their permission) and their rights as a performer;
  • The inclusion of third party content in recorded lectures and whether to pause or edit recordings or whether to rely on copyright exceptions;
  • Uploading content to the VLE and ensuring you have permission for resources;
  • Teaching students on a journalism course about copyright, ethics and the use of data from social media;
  • Encouraging open practice and sharing resources across the team (and licensing your own materials under Creative Commons).

A few years ago I said that the way to teach copyright was a bit like feeding vegetables to children, mash it up really small and disguise it! However for someone who is tasked with being the copyright advisor I can see that job title might be a barrier to being invited into a conversation about teaching. I’m not sure yet what the answer is, but rather like information literacy, I think the key is to embed copyright into teacher training. And probably to stop calling it copyright, but think about what teachers are trying to do, which is to share knowledge. Sharing knowledge and resources is probably one of the most common things teachers and learners do however you won’t find it referenced in the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act. But talking about sharing is a great way of having a conversation about openness, ownership, authorship, giving credit, contracts and permission. All these things are parts of copyright literacy but from a teacher’s perspective when someone says let’s learn about copyright I suspect their heart sinks. I’m going to endeavour not to mention copyright in my new job every day, but if the past few weeks are anything to go by I can see copyright and open practice are important issue dominating many current discussions in higher education, about teaching, learning and research.

The School Librarian and Copyright

Emily Stannard (@CopyrightGirl) is a former university copyright officer, who is now school librarian at the independent boarding school, Bradfield College. She agreed to write a guest post for us on her transition into the world of school libraries and the types of copyright issues she now deal with. Emily is an experienced copyright trainer and sits on the Libraries and Archives Copyright Alliance (LACA). 

I decided to apply for a library position in a local independent school after my role within the university morphed from full-time copyright officer to managing business continuity (essentially disaster recovery). I spent a year re-training as a business continuity officer but each step took me further away from copyright and my professional training as a librarian, and I realised that I was not comfortable with that. Having had no previous experience in school libraries whatsoever, I was amazed when Bradfield College offered me the position. Now, almost three years later, I continue to be amazed at the pace of school life. A school is a remarkably different place from a university; when you work in a school, you are plunged headlong into a hectic world of timetables, sport, extracurricular activities, pastoral duties and meetings. It is a veritable whirlwind of last minute activity where time is the most valuable commodity and there is precious little of it. My to-do list seems endless, mostly because getting the right people together to put plans into action is nigh on impossible during term. Then, as soon as term ends, everyone melts away like snow and avoids contact with one another until term resumes and we have to find another gear to catapult us out of holiday mode. Anyone who follows the ICT with Mr P Facebook feed will be able to relate – it is mostly about teachers but as librarians we quickly get sucked into the same world. As an independent school librarian at a boarding school I know that some of the challenges I experience are different from my state school counterparts, but we are all pushed for resources (particularly time) in one way or another, as are the teachers we work with.

So, where does copyright factor in my role? Well, to be honest, I suspect many of my colleagues working in schools will say the same as me: copyright is practically at the bottom of the list of our priorities. There is so much to be done and so little time in which to do it that unless we as librarians are able to push copyright as being more important than exam results, league tables or sporting prowess, it is not something that senior management consider significant enough to worry about. As opposed to a university with a department for compliance, a school has a small senior management team concerned with finances, teaching and learning, pastoral care and extra curricular activities, and one person designated to deal with health and safety / risk management. This means that time is spent investing in the school’s strategy/vision whilst ensuring that capital projects are running on time and pupils are kept as safe as possible. Given that copyright infringement does not result in death or parental complaints, it is a fairly low priority. That being said, schools do subscribe to large educational licences from collecting societies such as the Educational Recording Agency and the Copyright Licensing Agency to ensure that they can do the basic tasks such as recording from the TV and radio and making multiple copies of worksheets and so on. The awareness of the risk is obviously there but is rarely thought about by staff and management. But as librarians we must not get demoralised and must seek opportunities to educate about copyright wherever we see opportunities. This may be in the context of academic conduct/plagiarism, or as part of the creative arts curriculum, or perhaps even presenting copyright issues in an assembly.

When copyright questions do arise, they tend to be about issues such as film/video, copying of worksheets, ownership of copyright and further use, and images. Some examples of questions which come up are:

Q: Please can the Library add a film to our video management platform so that we can show it in class? (NB film has not yet aired on terrestrial TV)

A: No. Solution – teacher borrowed the DVD to show to the class as no licence is required for use of films in a lesson.

Q: Can I make a copy of one worksheet from a book of commercially published worksheets which says that no part of this book may be copied?

A: Yes as the CLA licence allows copying of up to 5% of a book and making multiple copies for the class.

Q: We have an author coming in to give an interactive workshop on the creative process. We would like to video this and prepare a book of the story which will be created by the author plus members of the audience. The author is being paid by us so surely we own the copyright as the school owns the copyright in teachers’ work?

A: An employer automatically owns the copyright to anything their employees create during the course of their business, but does not own someone outside the organisation’s copyright even if they are being paid for it unless there is a contract in place stating as much. The author needs to agree in writing (an email will do) that he/she is happy for you to do what you are going to do, but you may not necessarily be able to stop them using some or all of that material in her work.

Q: Design & Technology pupils want to print out watermarked images for their coursework – the images are used as a template tool and the finished products are very different from the original. Copies of the watermarked images are kept in their coursework books. Are we as an institution only liable if we openly encourage students to use stock images? If a student used a Getty image on their coursework and we had told them not to do this (and had a record of this lesson), would we be fined or would it be the responsibility of the child/parent?

A: The use of stock images and other copyright works for coursework is covered by what is known as the ‘examination’ exception (illustration for instruction). However – when that purpose changes, e.g. works are then displayed online, that’s when the problems start. In terms of liability, the organisation is ultimately liable, not the parents.

One of the biggest challenges for schools is audio books, which are sold either on CD or via an audiobook platform (often prohibitively expensive for school libraries). Libraries like to offer their own collections of audio books but as time goes by CD drives have become obsolete and MP3s are the only way that audio is consumed. Librarians are desperate to convert CDs to MP3 format but are prohibited by copyright law as one can only copy for preservation purposes if a copy is not available to purchase commercially. There is currently no rights management agency responsible for audio books, and contacting individual publishers would take too long for school librarians. A further problem exists with regards to storage; if permission was given, server space is often at a premium in schools and so MP3s may not be able to be stored. For now it seems the only solution is to purchase personal CD players for pupils to listen to audio books or to work with local public libraries’ OverDrive platform. However, the collection of teen fiction in audio format varies widely between local authorities. It may be worth investigating other solutions such as LibriVox or SYNC – it is mostly the classics and other public domain works which are available but there are several options to try.

I can now empathise with colleagues working in school libraries – resources are so limited yet there are some amazing and creative things being done by school librarians up and down the country. The problem we have is that with all our priorities divided between information skills teaching, stimulating reading for pleasure, managing the library management system, tutoring pupils, participating in meetings about exam results, managing the library stock and staff, providing CPD training on various websites, running referencing for entire year groups (which must happen in small groups owing to time and the fact that not everyone can get together on the same days), taking assemblies on books and reading, preparing competitions for pupils, planning ahead for challenging and interesting talks/events, finding tasks for library volunteers and creating eye catching and interesting displays, not to mention using social media to market the library, copyright lingers on the back burner, being one of those tasks to which all of us would love to devote some time but which gets buried by other priorities which vie for our time. For those of you who do manage to get a spare five minutes, there are a number of excellent sites which provide information about copyright: CopyrightUser is a non-biased website providing detailed information on each exception in copyright; Copyright & Schools is a nicely laid out website by the Copyright Licensing Agency answering questions teachers and librarians may have (the caveat is that it is a licensing site and so will not be promoting legal copyright exceptions); and last but not least, the BBC have a nice, user-friendly site on copyright called ‘Copyright Aware’.

Copyright or Wrong on BBC Radio 4

On World IP day, there are loads of resources out to help teach people about copyright,  but finding really accessible resources that you can use in copyright education is not always easy. Last week’s Radio 4 programme Copyright or Wrong by Richard Taylor the copyright lawyer and author is an ideal introduction to copyright for any audience. The programme asks whether copyright is an analogue law in the digital age and is a gallop through a whole raft of really key issues, with interviews with many leading experts in the field.

He gives an overview of copyright history, from the Statute of Anne through to modern case law with examples from music and movies. Richard Taylor interviews the MEP Julia Reda from the Pirate Party as well as Dr Eleanora Rosati and many others.

Of course if you want to explore the issues related to copyright and e-learning you might also want to listen again to the podcast Conversing about copyright we made a year or so ago with James Clay. Happy World IP day!

See the UK Copyright Literacy team at CILIP events in 2017

Jane speaking at ECIL 2016 in Prague on copyright literacy

We seem to be doing a round of CILIP Conferences this year. Next month I’ll be in Llandudno giving a keynote at CILIP Wales. The title of my talk is Copyright Education: the role of librarians. Bookings close on 4th May, and it’s an opportunity to spend two days by the sea in beautiful north Wales. I’m also looking forward to catching with with Paul Pedley who will be speaking about library privacy.

Chris and Jane at the CILIP Copyright Conference 2017

The following month Chris and I will be giving a joint keynote at CILIP Scotland in Dundee (5-6 June). We were delighted to be asked to do this and are planning on doing something a bit different after seeing Donna Lanclos and Dave White’s joint keynote at ALT-C last year, and Alex Moseley and Nic Whitton’s joint keynote at LILAC 2016. We’re not giving anything away, but the last two talks we gave required us to use health and safety equipment (all in the name of research!).

Librarians playing copyright the card game at the National Acquisitions Group conference 2016 in Glasgow

And then in July we’ll be heading to Manchester for the main CILIP conference. It’s going to be another opportunity for me to see Carla Hayden, Librarian of Congress speak (I heard her last month in Baltimore at ACRL) and we’re going to be running an abridged version of Copyright the Card game in the afternoon of Wednesday 5th July. Early bird booking for the CILIP Conference closes on Friday 28th April, so do book quickly to secure your place! Last year’s conference at Brighton was a lot of fun and there were some fantastic engaging speakers.

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!

It’s Open Education Week!

Last year Copyright the Card Game was a featured resource during Open Education Week, and we are delighted to be support the event which runs from the 27th to 31st March this year. We continue to support open education, adding Creative Commons licences to our resources, presentations and research wherever possible. Why not find out more about Open Education Week and if you are attending the OER17 conference next week in London, then we’ll be presenting on our research into lecture recording, copyright and open practice.

UK Copyright Literacy goes Stateside

I’ve been lucky enough to spend a week in the US, attending and presenting at the ACRL conference which is the Association of College and Research Libraries, and a part of the American Library Association. I was primarily here to present on information literacy, but decided to submit a lightning talk proposal on our research into librarians’ experiences of copyright. It’s 20 slides in 5 minutes so a real whizz through all the work we’ve been doing. But great to share the copyright literacy work with a new audience. And this is also exciting because a librarian in the US, Paul Bond, has been working on adapting Copyright the Card Game for US Law and I am hoping to meet him later today. Anyway my slides are available and in honour of the trip, the UK Copyright Literacy logo has got a new look for the week!

The UK Copyright Officers survey

Interested in knowing more about copyright support in other institutions?

Philippa Hatch, Chris Morrison and Jane Secker are carrying out research into copyright officers or similar specialists in UK libraries and educational / cultural institutions. We want to find out more about the value and status of these positions, the responsibilities that they entail and the ways in which copyright education is delivered. The survey follows on from the UK Copyright Literacy Survey carried out in 2014 (reported in Morrison & Secker, 2015). It also will provide some comparative data to a recent survey of copyright specialists undertaken in Canada by Patterson, (2017). The findings should be of interest to organisations wishing to benchmark the copyright training and advice services they currently offer.

Who should complete the survey?

We would be grateful if organisations could nominate one representative to complete the survey. Even if you don’t have a copyright officer, the survey asks questions to determine how copyright is managed in the absence of a designated post (the previous survey found 64% of respondents had a designated individual with responsibility for copyright matters). We ask you to provide the name of your organisation and contact details at the end of the survey to help ensure we don’t get multiple responses from the same institutions. This data will not be shared.

The survey is available here and will be open until Monday 3rd April.

The data and findings

The findings will be anonymised and a summary will be published on the Copyright Literacy website, with a view to further dissemination in academic literature and conference presentations. The data will be archived at the UK Data Archive in order to make it available to other researchers in line with current data sharing practices.

If you have any questions about this survey please contact: