Copy paste and copy right

Children’s picture books, artworks and pop songs have been created to share. Right? It is not that simple. Early Childhood Australia has been working on a special Copyright Licence that protects early childhood services as well as the makers and owners of creative works. 

Most of us don’t think twice before cutting and pasting a digital picture into a newsletter, sharing a recipe online from a well-known chef or downloading music for a video we plan to post online. We enjoy the background music when we walk into an early childhood setting or a well-known art work posted on its website.

Click-click, tap-tap, cut/paste. It’s never been easier to find great resources online and turn them into educational materials. The government’s innovation agenda encourages organisations of all sizes to be creative and entrepreneurial online.

We can reach families and promote our education practice to the community using professional-looking materials created in a few clicks. Many early childhood organisations have websites with interactivity, music, images and video clips. Early childhood educators and carers routinely incorporate illustrations and text from much-loved children’s books into their educational materials, in concert programs or print and e-newsletters.

These beautiful works have been created by artists to be enjoyed and shared, right? Well, yes and no.

Music composers, artists, writers and other creators live on the income generated by their work. They also have a say over who is allowed to use their work, where and how. Copyright laws protect their rights and the rights of those who purchase creative works. While there are exemptions, you might need a license to use work created by another.

Sounds fair but how do you know whether it affects you? Does it cover use of music, art, books and other creations when operating an early childhood education and care service?

ECA has been working with Australia’s Copyright Agency and a number of artists’ organisations to find answers and clarify how the laws work.

A new Early Childhood Education Copyright Licence has been established to help early learning providers meet their copyright obligations. It uses an easy ‘one-stop shop’ mechanism to obtain permission from the creators of materials.

Two new plain language guides have also been created and are available from the ECA website. One factsheet covers copyright and why you might need a licence. A second factsheet explains how the Early Childhood Education Copyright Licence works.

Click here to go to ECA’s educator resources on copyright and find the factsheets.

Find more tips about managing risk in the digital environment, such as privacy, cloud storage and social media strategies, at Getting Up to Speed, ECA’s federally funded Digital Business Kit.

Clare McHugh

Clare McHugh is Early Childhood Australia's (ECA) Strategic Communications Executive, working on projects that support ECA’s reputation as a trusted voice for young children, their families, educators and carers. Clare has been part of ECA's Learning Hub Team, managed ECA's Start Early. Respectful relationships for life project and ECA digital initiatives including the federally funded Digital Business Kit and Live Wires. Clare has been thinking and writing about children, family and social policy for a number of years, including for the Commonwealth Child Care Advisory Council and the Australian government.

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