Last year at the London Book Fair, William Boath of Cambridge University Press (CUP) gave a fantastic run-down of copyright as 'a great education enabler'.
He remarked that contrary to the popular view that copyright stifles advancement, its true social purpose was the 'Encouragement of Learning'. It meant greater access to educational materials for the public and ensured the continuous development of knowledge.
ALCS is an organisation that was set up by writers and works for writers, many of them working in or writing specifically for the education field. We pay authors the money that CLA collect for the re-use of their works under licence; the reason we're able to make sure that writers are receiving money that they're due is copyright.
So, it's really important to us to help to teach as many people as possible about the benefits of copyright and the importance of copyright to creators, particularly in a world where it seems like everything can be accessed online for free.
As any librarian and teacher will know, some subjects are more difficult to teach than others - and, let's face it, the topic of copyright can be a little, well, dry. But it isn't about cops and robbers and teaching children of the grave consequences of infringement either. We try to focus on the fact that copyright is a very positive thing, it means the creator owns and has rights to their own work, and that they have the right to make money out of that work, if they want to. And when the creators can make money, they can continue to create more of those brilliant TV shows, films, songs, games and books that we all enjoy so much.
We find that the best way by far to teach children about copyright is by engaging them creatively, asking them to imagine themselves as writers, and introducing copyright to them as part of that process. Essentially, thinking about themselves as the creator and owner of the work, and not just as a consumer.
We've been working with the CILIP Carnegie and Kate Greenaway Shadowing Scheme for over 10 years now and have developed a number of resources over the years that Shadowing group leaders and others can use to learn more about copyright in a fun and engaging way. These resources, for primary and secondary school aged students and teachers, can all be accessed, alongside other free resources for schools to download and use, in the copyright education hub of the ALCS website - www.alcs.co.uk/copyright-education . We also run an annual competition for Shadowers too, always with a creative focus, but including positive messages about respecting copyright.
The 2018 competition for 'Shadowers'
This year we're running a writing competition alongside the scheme which asks children to imagine themselves as journalists and to adapt their favourite story into a short news article. It's hopefully a fairly quick but engaging task that group leaders can easily fit into their busy schedules.
The prizes include attending the CKG awards ceremony, a tablet device for their personal use, and £500 of books for their school library. If you run a shadowing group, then you should have received some information already from CILIP, but you can find out more on their website - http://www.carnegiegreenaway.org.uk/competitions.php
The deadline for entries is 25 May 2018.
For more information about the CKG Shadowing Scheme, including how to sign up, visit:
For a look at all the copyright education initiatives ALCS has developed visit: www.alcs.co.uk/copyright-education
About the Author
Jade Zienkiewicz is a Content Editor and has worked for the Authors' Licensing and Collecting Society for the past ten years. She has devised the CILIP competition for the last three years, and loves reading the children's stories.