... and it has affected Learning and Teaching in schools.

The big changes for schools are that the Exceptions for Education now encompass digital technologies and cover all forms of media - film, photography, music, etc as well as text. Importantly for schools working in an authenticated VLE and using systems like IWB are also covered by the Exceptions.

Download detailed summary of Copyright Changes for schools.

NB. The detail on the CRW site has not yet been fully updated to reflect the changes, though the approaches to good practice and principles remain the same.

This update October 2014.



There is no bottom line saying,  "Copyright doesn't matter because we're a school.” There are, however "permitted acts" and "exceptions".

The regulations for 'Copyright' in the UK, apply in school to pupils, teachers and the school as an organisation in the same manner as to anyone else or to any other organisation.

The rule of thumb is - permission is requried to copy or re-use works that are 'in-copyright'.

green spot There are, however, a number of 'permitted acts' and 'exceptions' for education in the UK Copyright Act that schools should be aware of and use, which means not having to seek out permissions in some cases.

schools copyright


green spot The ‘exceptions’ and ‘fair dealing’ allow limited use of copyright works without the permission of the copyright owner.

green spot 'Fair Dealing' and 'Exceptions’ apply only to materials that are 'in copyright'.

'Fair dealing' and 'Exceptions' do not prefer any copy 'rights' on a user; because you are permitted to use a piece of copyright work in a particular way doesn't give you any copyrights over it - which usually means you can't copy it on - put it on a website or add to the school resources for others to use.

'Fair dealing' and 'exceptions' do not give you 'rights' - they are, in fact often described as 'defences' against any legal challenge of 'copyright infringement' that may be made of your use.

orange spot Some exceptions are for learning and some for teaching. Only some cover both learner and teacher.

orange spot 'Fair dealing' and the 'exceptions' don't cover everything you might want to do. In particular they don't necessarily cover you for re-using materials or for moving resources from one platform to another - for example: copying a picture in a book or from another website and putting it onto the school website or into its VLE. Re-user beware!

Fair Dealing and Exceptions are NOT permitted for 'commercial' activity.

green spot Fair Dealing and Exceptions REQUIRE that the creator/owner is acknowledged. Good practice suggests  acknowledging the creator, the title, date and the source of resources that you use and encourage pupils to do the same.

green spot There is of course a huge, and increasing, amount of material that schools can use without having to seek special permsissions or incur expenditure because it is: public domain, out-of-copyright; uses open licences such as Creative Commons; the school has already subscribed to an education use licence; or the material is published with an "OK for education use" terms and conditions. And of course you can always ask for permission to use materials.

green spot Risk management. The idea of risk managment applied to copyright and the creation, and in-particular the re-use, of digital resources, in education has proved an effective means for avoiding problems while keeping the process viable, given all the other pressures on time and budget.


Taking video or images in public places does not infringe copyright even of copyrighted materials such as sculpture - though there are other laws and social responsibilities that may have to be taken into account, such as 'privacy'.

The CPDA or Copyright Patents and Design Act 1988 is the key Act in the UK detailing Copyright regulations. However, it relates to earlier Acts and has been added to by later Acts. The UK Act also relates to European directives and to international agreements such as the Berne Convention.  Take care in taking individual statements from the Act and building a general position them to suit your needs - you have to relate each statement to the whole! More on this in Section 1 - Copyright and the Law



Fair dealing

Education exceptions

The Teacher, the Workforce and the School and copyright

The Pupil and IPR

Copyright Infringement

Risk Management

Managing Copyright and School Policies

and ...

Schools and Copyright Quiz


back to top