The Times reports on the trend for some schools to buy single copies of text books for whole classes and then to distribute photocopies of the contents to their students. The article focuses on the efforts of Keith Diggle, director of the musical publishing company Rhinegold, to take action against City of Ely Community College. Diggle claims that the college illegally copied and distributed 25 pages of the publisher’s A Student’s Guide to AS Music, despite prominent copyright notices on many pages of the book. He claims though that the Copyright Licensing Agency (CLA) was aware of the problem, it had said that there was little that it could do about it. The CLA has said that litigation in such cases is a last resort and that the better option would be for publishers to join the CLA’s royalty distribution scheme, of which Rhinegold was not a member. However, the CLA has said that it will make use of the new Copyirght and Related Rights Regulations in order to bring about a shift from the “inherent culture that it’s OK to copy”. It has also instituted the Copywatch helpline, offering a reward of up to £20,000 to those who report instances of copyright infringement. This though is one of Diggle's gripes. The pupil who brought the college’s copying to his attention had previously reported the copying to the Copywatch helpline but had received no reward. According to Diggle, the CLA helpline is holding out “the implied promise” of a reward to those who blow the whistle on infringers. This promise though was not delivered to the pupil of Ely Community College.
While the IPKat has sympathy with the financial plight of schools and recognises the value of education, neither of these factors are justifications for copyright infringement. Copying text books could be counterproductive if they cause: (i) fewer books to be published or (ii) those books that are published to be sold at a higher rate. Nonetheless, the IPKat isn’t sure about the Copywatch helpline in as far as it could be used by pupils with grudges to cause trouble for their schools with the promise of a monetary reward for doing so.
More copying in Ely here
Copying in schools – what’s allowed? here
Tuesday, 20 April 2004
Posted by Ilanah at 8:04:00 p.m.