This morning, my journey towards becoming a TL has taken me to the topic of Copyright. I was directed towards the Smartcopying website which is an essential resource to be aware of if you are a teacher or a TL. In particular, my focus today was exploring the use of film/DVD and how copyright applies to this. While I was reading up on my responsibilities regarding how to use film/DVD appropriately within my school context, I made a discovery.
As someone who likes to follow the rules, I was surprised to learn that I may have unknowingly breached the rules of copyright in regards to the use of DVD’s. As it turns out, it is not permitted to screen a video or DVD on the bus during and excursion which has been hired from a video shop by the school for the sole purpose of entertainment: AKA attempting to keep the students entertained for a short period of time on the very long bus ride from Brisbane to Canberra…and back! If the video or DVD is used for teaching purposes, or the bus company/school has obtained permission from the film’s copyright owner, then it is OK to use.
Since this is fairly standard practice among teachers, I began to wonder…
- Is it permitted to use the video or DVD purely for entertainment if they are purchased by the teacher rather than hired from a video store?
- Is it permitted to use the video or DVD purely for entertainment if they are streamed by the teacher rather than hired from a video store?
- Is it even appropriate to be screening videos and DVDs purely for the purpose of entertainment or should all viewing be done with the view of teaching and learning in mind?
After further reading, I discovered that some Australian schools are covered by the Co-Curricular Licence, which enables them to play films for non-educational purposes. This licence sits outside the Copyright Act (National Copyright Unit) and is negotiated individually by schools.
Copyright Law is not merely a guideline for fair use, it is, in fact, the law. As teachers and TLs, it is our responsibility to know about and follow Copyright Law. Furthermore, part of the role of the TL is to ensure that copyright information is shared with teachers and they they are aware of additional licences which have been budgeted for and purchased by the school
National Copyright Unit. (n.d.). Film and Video/DVD. Retrieved from http://www.smartcopying.edu.au/faqs/film-and-video-dvd
National Copyright Unit. (n.d.). Playing Films, Television and Radio in Schools. Retrieved from http://www.smartcopying.edu.au/information-sheets/schools/playing-films-television-and-radio-in-schools