Learning on Screen need your help!

Learning On Screen is the new name for the British Universities Film and Video Council (BUFVC). The e-CHARM project is a 6 month research project to better understand the needs of the education sector with regards to copyright and audiovisual material. The first phase of this research is a short survey, which should take no more than 10 minutes to complete. We would be grateful if as many librarians, learning technologists, teachers and lecturers could take the time to complete it.  The survey will help us understand the needs of the sector.
Understanding copyright and licensing is an important aspect of teaching and learning in the digital age. Librarians and teaching staff currently grapple to understand what they and their learners can do with digital content in an educational context. Copyright for audiovisual materials often involves several layers of rights, which increases the complexity The survey will be open until Monday 10th July and respondents have the option to enter a prize draw to win a £20 Amazon voucher.
We will also be looking for volunteers from across the higher and further education and schools sectors to join focus groups or take part in telephone interviews in early August. The survey gives you the option to leave your contact details if you are willing to take part in further research.
This research is being led by Lisa Jeskins, in conjunction with Chris Morrison and Jane Secker

Two new reviews of Copyright and E-learning and an award!

It has been almost a year to the day when our book was published and last week we delighted to see two more reviews of Copyright and E-learning: a guide for practitioners. The first by Adrienne Muir was published in Ariadne. Adrienne has written a really balanced review of the book, highlighting a few areas we need to address but finishing with the following rather nice tribute:

“Overall, this is an excellent book. I would certainly recommend it to anyone in higher education as both an introduction to copyright issues in e-learning, libraries and digital humanities, and as an authoritative source of advice. I hope that Facet will continue to publish updated editions.”

The second review was published by LSE Review of Books and written by Emily Stannard, who is a former university copyright officer and writer on this blog! Interestingly blog posts on LSE Review of Books are published under a CC-BY-NC-ND licence and so her review was also re-published on the San Francisco Review of Books (California here we come perhaps?). Emily has given a similarly fair assessment of the book, recognising that perhaps teachers and lecturers are less likely to read our book than librarians and teaching support staff, despite our best intentions.

Finally, the week ended up on a high note after starting with the CILIP Scotland conference in Dundee. On Thursday we found out we had been awarded No.33 in a ranking of the Top Copyright Blogs, which is a global listing and includes many prestigious blogs in the field. We are proudly displaying our badge on the blog and it’s spurred us on to ensure we do try and get a post out once a week. Thanks to all our followers, and don’t forget copyright literacy is a journey!

Copyright literacy as a journey

Last week we were delighted to keynote the CILIP Scotland conference held in Dundee. It was our first joint keynote and we had spent considerable time preparing our talk and slides, discussing what we wanted to say and the approach we wanted to take. Most talks about copyright are not noted for their entertainment value, but in the spirit of our creative approaches to education, Chris and I wanted to do something different. We like bringing in elements of interactivity to our talks and last week was no exception. We used the polling software Mentimeter to ask delegates about their feelings about copyright (see below), we held a quiz which resulted in Chris throwing chocolates around the room and of course we modeled our 2017 tour t-shirts, a parody of the Guns N’ Roses album ‘Appetite for Destruction’ (see above).

We’ve been on this journey towards copyright literacy now since 2014 when I first found out about the international survey of librarians started by Tania Todorova and I invited Chris to help me run it in the UK. We were intrigued at finding out how UK librarians would compare to others around the world. Since then we’ve carried out further research using phenomenography to investigate further the experiences of copyright in the professional lives of librarians. We each told the CILIPS conference delegates our personal journeys that led towards an interest in copyright literacy and we shared an insight from George Lucas, creator of one of our favourite films Star Wars. We also talked about the important privileges that librarians have and the impact that avoiding or being fearful of copyright can have on our sector.

Adapted from Alfred Leete’s Kitchener Wants You poster

‘Copyright literacy is a journey not a destination’ may be a cheesy phrase I came up with when writing the keynote with Chris (we’re thinking it might work on a fridge magnet). But what it really means is that addressing the challenge of copyright is not just about developing an extensive curriculum to ‘upskill’ librarians about copyright matters. For us, copyright literacy is more than just learning copyright facts – it’s a different and more critical approach that recognises there are no easy answers with copyright. You need a framework for tackling queries and a supportive community to share your experiences with. You also need to become comfortable with a level of uncertainty and the idea of taking risks. Librarians are not natural copyright ‘officers’ – they are educators rather than trainers (and if you were at CILIP Scotland you’ll remember my anecdote about the difference – if you weren’t ask me about it sometime!). But we reflected on what a world without copyright literacy looks like and the problem with fear and confusion. We ended with a rallying cry asking librarians to own copyright, as it belongs to us all and it is highly central to many of the big issues in our profession. We were delighted to see Nicola Osbourne live blogged our session, so provides a full report on the keynote and there were some great tweets from our session, a few of which we have included below:




So the next stop on the journey for us is the UUK/GuildHE Copyright Summer Event on 20 June, followed by the CILIP Conference in Manchester on 5 July at which we’ll be playing copyright the card game, but this time with some fresh new cards. Hopefully see you out there on the road somewhere and remember, may copyright literacy be with you always.

Copyright Literacy return to Scotland

We are heading up to Dundee on Sunday for the CILIP Scotland conference (#CILIPS17) as the Copyright Literacy tour continues this summer. The theme of the conference is Strategies for Success and out talk is entitled ‘The Road to Copyright Literacy: a journey towards library empowerment.’ Chris was in Scotland last year for the National Acquisitions Group conference where he ran two sessions to showcase Copyright the Card Game, so it’s a return trip and our first real opportunity to give a joint keynote.

Photo by James Bennett used with permission

We were inspired by Donna Lanclos and Dave White’s joint keynote last year at ALT-C, which was an entertaining, partly ad-libbed conversation. For anyone who might have overheard a conversation between Chris and me, they can be rather long and rambling, and a little circular. But we hope that with the creation of some beautiful slides and a 45 minute time limit, we can say something valuable. I don’t wish to spoil it for those attending, but we plan to share some stories about how we got into copyright, talk about the ideas behind critical copyright literacy and why it matters. We also want to encourage the library profession to be bolder, less hesitant about copyright and to feel like it belongs to them. There will also be one or two surprises along the way, as we are big fans of making our sessions interactive and fun. We don’t think safety goggles will be needed this time, but anything is possible!

If you’re coming to Dundee, then we look forward to seeing you there. The conference has a great programme with three other keynotes, from Miguel Figueroa, Val McDermid and Nick Poole and some great parallel sessions. If not you can follow the fun on Twitter. There will also be an opportunity to catch us at the main CILIP conference in Manchester in July, where we’re running an abridged version of the card game.

An update on the ARFIS study

Last year we were involved in distributing the Academic Reading Format International Survey (ARFIS) in the UK, which was completed by students around the UK. The final report was published in LSE Research Online. While it’s not directly related to copyright, the study is of interest given how much work and money has been invested in preparing readings in digital format for students. The findings across the world show that students in general still prefer print to electronic for academic reading. Diane Mizrachi, from UCLA, the founder of the survey has sent a short update on the work she, and other members of the international team have been undertaking and is planning a panel discussion at ECIL in St Malo, France in September.

The ARFIS team now includes researchers from 36 different countries on six continents.  Two country studies (South Africa and Hong Kong) are still underway. Several of the team met informally at the European Conference on Information Literacy (ECIL) last October and outlined ideas for disseminating our research to larger and more diverse audiences. In March 2017, several authors submitted a report to Science but they deemed it out of their journal scope and recommended publishing in a more specialized journal.  They have expanded and reworked the manuscript to include comparative analysis from 21 countries and citations from ARFIS country studies published by our team members. Last week it was submitted to journal, The Internet in Higher Education, whose readership focuses on educators and educational researchers, and we are awaiting their decision.

In March Diane presented a poster on our work at the Association of College and Research Libraries (ACRL) conference in Baltimore, Maryland, USA (pictured). Librarians were very appreciative and encouraging. They kept telling her ‘We KNOW this! The students keep telling us this! Thank you for documenting their attitudes and please continue.” Last month she was the guest of Carnegie Mellon University in Qatar where she spoke to about 80 librarians, educators, and administrators about the study. There were many questions, a lively discussion followed, and an English language news publication picked up on it.  And just last week Diane spoke with a senior scientist at Google about ARFIS. He had heard about it from a mutual acquaintance and wanted to know more. She shared with him the survey instrument and some of the findings.

If you wish to find out more details then ARFIS also now has a webpage and the team page shows some members of the international team. Diane can be contacted at:

Diane Mizrachi, Ph.D.
Social Sciences and Undergraduate Instruction Librarian
Charles E. Young Research Library, UCLA

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!