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I have noticed a number of postings from teachers to the Education Forum – and to other discussion lists to which I subscribe – that indicate teachers' lack of awareness about copyright, especially copyright on the Web. One recent posting that I read contained an attachment that appeared to contain copyright material – which is highly inadvisable in a public forum like this, as you are open to everyone’s gaze, including copyright bounty hunters.

The copyright bounty hunter is a new emerging profession. Such people use special software to scan the Web to look for breaches of copyright and then they report breaches to the copyright owners in return for a fee. Some copyright bounty hunters just do it out of revenge or spite, like the teacher who reported a colleague who was promoted over his head and like the parent who shopped my local school to the Federation Against Software Theft because the school was sending kids home with floppy disks containing copies of my software. The parent was a bit stupid, however, as the school had bought a licence from me that entitled them to make student copies of my software - which the parent could have checked with me first.

Other forum members have suggested setting up resources sites containing texts, pictures, audio files, etc. This is OK as long as you don’t post copyright materials on such sites – and this includes materials that you have gleaned from other websites.

There are several guidance documents on copyright at BECTA’s ICT Advice site – just do a search of the site using the keyword “coypright”:

http://www.ictadvice.org.uk

I maintain a resources site myself, ICT4LT (ICT for Language Teachers). I am careful about what I post at the site, especially materials sent in by teachers, and I have produced a page of guidelines on copyright:

http://www.ict4lt.org/en/en_copyright.htm

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