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Teacher Newsmagazine Volume 17, Number 6, April 2005

Navigating copyright in schools

by Francine Filion

A booklet on copyright will be made available to every teacher and school board in Canada. The Copyright Consortium of the Council of Ministers of Education, Canada (CMEC), the Canadian School Boards Association (CSBA), and the Canadian Teachers’ Federation (CTF) have jointly announced the release of an updated Copyright Matters!, a booklet designed to answer frequently asked questions about copyright in schools. Copies of the booklet, which can be found online and in print, will be distributed broadly across Canada.

Copyright in Canada is evolving, not static. The first edition of Copyright Matters!, published in 2000, proved to be highly popular with educators because it demystified complex copyright issues and acquainted them with basic copyright rules. Since then, a number of significant changes have occurred in copyright, and this second edition will bolster the growing awareness of and respect for copyright in education while providing up-to-date information on copyright law, copyright collectives, and how they relate to the use of resources in educational settings.

New information is provided on copyright related to radio and television, while the information related to school libraries, copyright exceptions, and copyright collectives has been expanded. The booklet provides simple answers to questions such as Can teachers copy print materials? What is the cost of copying radio and television programs? and Can teachers and students copy from the Internet?

"Copyright policy is an area of growing concern for Canada’s school boards," said Gord Comeau, president of CSBA. "Certainly, school boards want to ensure that their employees are able to access the most relevant information in the timeliest and most cost-effective manner. Copyright Matters! gives educators balanced information on both respect for copyright and access to information. The booklet allows school boards to lead by example on the issue of copyright."

"Teachers and their students need to know what current Canadian copyright policies are in place. It can help them understand how copyright law and copyright collectives relate to the use of resources in the classroom," said the Honourable Jamie Muir, Nova Scotia’s Education Minister.

"This booklet is a handy guide that provides clear and concise answers to teachers’ questions about copyright," said Terry Price, president of the CTF. "However, current copyright laws and consequently this booklet provide limited guidance on the educational use of the Internet," she added. "We hope and expect that the federal government will act soon to open windows of learning to our students and teachers by ensuring they have reasonable access to publicly available Internet materials."

Online copies of Copyright Matters! are available at www.ctf-fce.ca.

Francine Filion is the communications officer for the Canadian Teachers’ Federation.

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