There are a number of areas that school management has to consider in dealing with 'copyright':

The development of out-of-school access, increased number of people that may legitimately use or share resources and the fact that today we are all, not just consumers of resources, but users, distributors and creators of content requires a paradigmatic shift in our thinking about school Policies and Guidance


School Policy

Copyright probably doesn’t need its own policy in schools; however, references to intellectual property, copyright and licensing should be present in the Senior Management Plan and other policy documents such as e-Safety and Acceptable Usage and relevant curriculum and community policies. To make this effective the school or LA may need to put together a summary document covering the issues of copyright under a heading such as ‘IPR, Copyright and Licencing in school’   and having it available for information to the school community.

Copyright policies shouldn’t become a barrier or an unmanageable administrative burden.

Some points to consider in forming policy

Download the ‘NEN Copyright and School Policy’ document:   NEN_CRW_PH_010.pdf 


External Partners and Funders

Schools increasingly work in partnerships with other organisations and use a wide range of funding providers. Within any agreements that are made schools need:

Copyright needs to be addressed before agreements are made as it is very difficult to deal with retrospectively.

Check Module 3 for more information on copyright and pupils, teachers, school workforce and ‘self-employed’ educators. See Module 3



money icon The terms "commercial" and "non-commercial" are important criteria in 'fair dealing' - though they are not defined by the CDPA. 'Exceptions' to copyright and 'fair dealing' do not permit commercial use. Obviously selling materials is a commercial operation but if you publish or distribute materials from a copyright owner while you are not making a profit you may be having an impact on their sales and that could be grounds for a copyright infringement action. Copyright owners could also complain about the detrimental commercial impact on them, not because of a direct hit on their sales, but because of brand misuse or the effect on the copyright owner's reputation and future business.

Commercial is not just be selling but could include promoting an organisation or campaign materials - and that could include, for instance, school brochures, events or websites. Promoting and developing the school as an organisation may not be seen in the same category as the teaching and learning in some cases of (mis)use of copyright or licenced resources or materials.

The UK IP Office provides this underpinning guidance, "In assessing whether your use of the work is permitted or not you must assess if there is any financial impact on the copyright owner because of your use. Where the impact is not significant, the use may be acceptable." However, commercial impact is not the only consideration - and your idea of what is significant might not be in accord with someone else;s.

Partnership Working. 'Commercial' could also be  applied to the activities of organisations who work with schools but are not, themselves, education insitutions. How copyright of outcomes is managed in partnerships where the organisations are different in kind needs to be thought about early in the process.

Teaching and Learning Resources. Selling resources or training provision by a school might also need to be thought through in terms of the use of licenced materials or the copyright issues associated with the creation of resources.

Another term that is used is "not-for-profit" meaning an organisation, like a charitable trust, that may be run as a business though not for the profit of shareholders or the owners.

Education Use. Licences or the terms and conditions of resources are often for 'education use' another term which may have a limiting definition as to how the materials can be used.


Some Management Resources

 ‘Copy Rights and Wrongs’ -

 ‘IPR Toolkit’ has a section considering institutional policy statements which need some adjustment for school situation; see Section 3. Template Policy Statements

 For information for the wider scope of working with Web 2.0 including diagnostic tools for Copyright Permissions see  JISC Legal’s ‘Web2Rights’ and theWeb2Rights diagnostic tools’


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