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Big Content strangling education

Schools waste cash because of copyright

Schools are spending fortunes as Big Content is putting the thumb screws on them under copyright laws that have failed to keep pace with digital learning. Schools have to spend cash for a compulsory licence to copy material such as books and journals without permission from the copyright owner.

But this means that schools also pay millions for internet material that the website owners never intended to charge for. The problem has been highlighted in Australia by the National Copyright Unit. It says that schools are being forced to pay millions of dollars so teachers can copy classroom material from books, something individuals can do free. Schools are being changed copyright fees every time a teacher prints from the internet, saves a document from a website or asks a student to print a webpage for a homework assignment.

Schools are being told by publishers that if a student purchases a book second hand it will not get a digital licence for the book even if they have bought the hardback. It seems that publishers are failing to evolve and keep up with the times and this was stopping teachers making the best use of interactive new media to educate students.

The Australian Law Reform Commission is holding an inquiry into copyright and the digital economy. Schools want more relaxed copyright rules so that students can take full advantage of the latest technology.

More here.

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