So far, our re:source blog has highlighted the ways in which teachers have to be aware of copyright when using different resources, and how they can apply their CLA Education Licence to make the most of them. However, copyright education isn't just something that teachers and other educators should take part in. It's actually becoming more relevant than ever for the younger generation to be made aware of copyright, the impact it could have on their lives, and why they should be behaving as copyright compliant citizens.
In this digital age, all kinds of content are now available to young people in so many different places. It was not so long ago that if a student was looking for information on a subject, they would turn to a textbook or perhaps even an encyclopaedia for the answer! (I wonder if a young person would be able to navigate the multiple tomes of an Encyclopaedia Britannica today?) Now, students can access information from books, broadcasts, videos, the Internet, the list goes on and on!
There is a clear winner though when it comes to how students find information to assist them in their learning; according to a 2016 OFCOM report, 84% of 8-11s and 92% of 12-15s use the Internet for schoolwork. With information accessible so easily at just one click of the button, a misconception can be common among young people - that all of this information is free to use!
Now, I'm not saying that these kids are happy to rip off somebody else's work for their own credit. In fact, regardless of any technological advances and greater access to content, studies have shown that most children are still able to tell the difference between the right and wrong of plagiarism from the age of five. But because students are not asked to pay for content or aren't blocked in some way from simply copying and pasting passages of text or images, they don't necessarily know that they might be doing something wrong.
Students are allowed to copy from published content in the context of their studies. But, they should be aware of four simple rules to make sure they aren't infringing on someone else's copyright:
- The purpose of the use is non-commercial. For example, a student shouldn't use someone else's content in a School magazine or newspaper that goes on sale
- The use of the material is fair. Basically, a student can use a short excerpt of content, but taking huge chunks or multiple chapters isn't really fair.
- They're only using the content for their own study. For example, they shouldn't copy someone else's work and make it available to others in their class or online for their use as well.
- They should always give credit to the creator. If a student is using someone else's work alongside their own, they should make sure to reference that person appropriately.
It's important to teach young people the rules about copyright so they can appreciate and recognise the value of someone else's work, but also of their own. Some students might have ambitions to pursue careers in the creative industries and copyright will be essential to ensuring that they can protect their work and can make a successful living.
If you're not sure how to introduce the subject of copyright in the classroom, you can find some helpful activities in our copyright activity plan.
Copyright doesn't have to be a difficult subject to introduce into the classroom, but it certainly is a necessary one. Have you taught a class about copyright? What activities did you use to get the idea across?
About the Author
Alexandra Reed is the Senior Digital Marketing Executive at CLA, and the editor of the re:source blog. Prior to working at CLA, Alexandra attended the University of Exeter where she competed an English Literature degree.