By Ali Withers
Copyright law is complex and since the most recent UK legislation in 1988 has been regularly amended basically any material in print and on the internet is protected from being copied or reproduced and the writer has Intellectual Property Rights to protect them.
This protection also applies to music scores and visual images and the point is to protect the originator of the work, who earns their living from what they produce.
This might cause problems for both students and teachers in schools, colleges and universities, where budgets are limited and providing reference books for each student would be very expensive.
Many educators rely on photocopied materials as part of the materials they need to give students for lessons and in further education students, too, rely on references for written coursework. No college library is likely to have more than a few copies of any reference book, which can be a problem if there are many students needing to refer to them.
There is a system of licensing for educational establishments to allow photocopies to be made covering both printed material and scans and copies of online material. The examples that follow are extracts only and users should check the complete licence for what is permitted and what is not.
The licensing system is run by the Copyright Licensing Agency and is called the CLA Schools Licence, which allows photocopying from printed books, journals, and magazines as well as making digital copies from online material or photocopying and scanning printouts of digital material.
Among the issues covered by the Licence are defined limits to the amount of material that can be copied and printed out which are:
1. One complete chapter from a book
2. One article from a journal or magazine
3. One short story or poem not more than 10 pages in length
4. The entire report of a single legal case
5. Or 5% of the publication if greater than above
The licence does not include printed music, including the words, newspapers, workbooks and some correspondence courses as well as any publications that include a notice that they are prohibited from being copied under a CLA licence.
There are limits also on how many copies can be made and for whom. They should only be enough for the teacher and the numbers of pupils in the class if being used for teaching. They should only be available to students, teachers, parents and governors.
Most university libraries have a notice of the rules and regulations regarding photocopyingand copyright alongside their photocopiers to help users to know what they can and cannot do.
Regarding quoting from other people's material, the 1988 Copyright Act contains a clause, called Fair Dealing, that states that copyright is not infringed if material being quoted or used is for research or private study, criticism or review or for reporting current events.
Copyright (c) 2011 Alison Withers
This article looks at the issues of copyright law and copying materials for educational purposes. Ali Withers writes on behalf of Firstcopy, Cambridge, suppliers of printers and copiers throughout East Anglia.