Each year, the royalties team at CLA visit hundreds of schools to collect information about which published resources are being copied and how they are being used under CLA's Education Licence. This information helps us identify who should receive royalty payments for the use - photocopying, scanning and digital reuse - of their work. So, what can you expect if your school is one of those chosen to take part in a royalties data collection...
Picture the scene: a wet Monday morning, the head's off sick, the phone has yet to stop ringing and a young student is sobbing his heart out in the school office for a problem you've yet to determine. When the hub-bub eventually subsides, you sit down with a nice cup of tea and start opening the post only for the peace to be shattered on seeing those immortal words, "As part of a random selection process, your school has been chosen to participate in the forthcoming royalties data collection...". "Wonderful, why us?" I hear you cry!
But, before you head for the hills, let me explain what hosting a data collection involves. Firstly, it's not an inspection. Nor an audit. We are not visiting to check up on anyone, simply to collect information. In fact, your local Royalties Officer leading the exercise (RO) may well be a friendly neighbour; rest assured, he or she comes with carrots not sticks and, importantly, will be with you and your colleagues every step of the way. Secondly, beyond making sure everyone is aware of the exercise, usually through key heads of department, this isn't going to involve months of preparation. The royalties data is simply collected over the course of a term and, as all staff have a part to play, there is collective responsibility across the school - it won't all be down to you.
Shortly after you receive the initial letter, your RO will contact you to outline the process then arrange a suitable time to visit and brief in more detail. This is usually towards the end of term, ready to start early in the next. At this stage, they will need some essential details such as how many photocopiers does the school have and where are they located, as well as giving advice on who should attend the briefing meeting. Ideally, this will include the head or other senior member(s) of staff, reprographics, the head of music, IT, the library and whoever might be best placed to lead the exercise going forwards. It is important that the head and the SMT are supportive of the collection early in the process, but, once up and running, the baton for day-to-day contact can be passed on if necessary. Obviously, each school is unique so much of this depends on internal structure.
Briefings generally take about half an hour in smaller schools and nearer an hour in the large but there will be plenty of time for questions. In addition to providing some useful background information, your RO will walk you through the two core elements of the exercise, clarifying what type of content should be recorded and when. They will also guide you on the most effective ways of creating awareness and ensuring staff engage with the process. And, of course, your RO will bring all relevant materials including a collection box for each copier (think small yellow post box), posters, data labels and some data examples.
Let's take photocopying and scanning. If a resource being copied includes published material the person doing the copying needs to let us know. Say you were copying twenty pages from a book and were going to make enough sets for a class of thirty. We don't need those twenty pages, just what book you're copying from. All you have to do is make a copy of what we call the 'identifier page' i.e. something which identifies the resource. Ideally, this should be the ISBN (number) usually found on the back cover of more recent publications but, if you can't locate it, a copy of the front cover will suffice so long as it includes title, author, publisher and, hopefully, which edition.
Once you have created your identifier page, complete one of the sticky data labels found on top of the yellow box, affix it to your identifier page and then simply post into the yellow box. For printed music, we also require the first page of the work you have used but, that's it, we now have your data! And what do we mean exactly by published print material? Well, that includes resources such as books, magazines, journals, newspapers and printed music.
In this modern age, digital re-use has become a lot more common and so we need to collect data on this too. Think e-books, online magazines you may have signed up for, e-journals which you get as a part of print subscription, even certain blogs and websites! Yes, that wonderful, boundless encyclopaedia in the ether also constitutes published content, though some sites are free to use, and others free to view so it does vary from site to site. Don't worry too much as your RO will be able to go over this with you in more detail but if you are using digital resources then this data also needs to be recorded digitally. We have a simple online page for you to enter the same sort of details as your copying data, which involves little more than a copy/paste and a few clicks.
Once the exercise starts, your RO will visit from time to time to empty the yellow boxes, top up the labels and provide you with feedback as to how much digital data has been submitted online. They will be more than happy to answer any questions that may have arisen since the briefing. Most of the queries relate to whether something should be included or not but the mantra is always if in doubt, don't leave it out - it's all data to us!
Finally, so long as everyone fully understands why they are being asked to record data and how valuable their role is, everything will run like clockwork. Not every author is lucky enough to write a headline grabbing best-seller so the royalties distributed because of your contribution really do make a difference to creators.
About the Author
Tracy works as a Data Research Coordinator, having joined CLA in 2010. Alongside her research into workflows and technology, Tracy project manages day to day operations of a team of UK-wide Royalties Officers working closely with our Education customers to collect that all important royalties data.