[LINK] Schools paying for materials free on the net

Jan Whitaker jwhit at janwhitaker.com
Mon Jul 23 09:45:55 AEST 2012

Schools pay millions for material free on net

Kim Arlington
Published: July 23, 2012 - 3:00AM

SCHOOLS are paying millions of dollars to use freely available 
internet resources under ''draconian'' copyright laws that have 
failed to keep pace with digital learning.

Schools spend almost $56 million a year under a compulsory licence to 
copy material such as books and journals without permission from the 
copyright owner. But an unintended consequence of the licence means 
schools also pay millions for internet material that the website 
owners never intended to charge for, according to the National 
Copyright Unit, which provides specialist copyright advice to the 
schools and TAFE sector.

While it was difficult to calculate the exact amount paid for freely 
available internet material, the best estimate suggested it was about 
$8 million, said Delia Browne, the unit's national copyright director.

Schools also pay millions of dollars so teachers can copy classroom 
material from books, something individuals can do free.

''Australian schools pay 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,'' Ms Browne said.

These costs were likely to increase as the national broadband network 
was rolled out and might ''eventually become prohibitive'', she said.

The unit will make submissions on schools' behalf to the Australian 
Law Reform Commission, which is holding an inquiry into copyright and 
the digital economy.
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Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
jwhit at janwhitaker.com
blog: http://janwhitaker.com/jansblog/
business: http://www.janwhitaker.com

Our truest response to the irrationality of the world is to paint or 
sing or write, for only in such response do we find truth.
~Madeline L'Engle, writer

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