A Copy a Day Keeps Creators in Pay

April 17, 2013

More than a billion pages of copyrighted material are being photocopied or used electronically by schools and universities for teaching every year.

Copyright Agency’s Manager of Surveys & Monitoring, James Tweed, says the agency’s annual surveys capture a sample of how much and what is being copied or shared digitally so that creators, such as educational authors, photographers, journalists, artists and publishers can be fairly remunerated.

Over 300 copyrighted pages are used by school students annually while the figure for universities is a little lower at around 250 pages per internal student.

Of Australia’s 10,000 schools, around a quarter have taken part in a Copyright Agency survey in the past 10 years. All 39 universities are now licensed and most have taken part at least two to three times. “Our system is finely tuned and our licensees have become very familiar with it,” James says.

The surveys capture the copying of all the different types of content used for education, such as books, newspaper articles, journals, magazines, visual art (e.g. photos, drawings, maps, diagrams, cartoons, illustrations) and online material such as articles, lesson plans and worksheets.

However, there are numerous exceptions which are not included in the survey, such as an institution’s own works, material published by government, works directly licensed by the institution, public domain materials, personal copying and where a website gives permission for material to be reproduced free for educational purposes.

Copyright Agency strives to strike a balance between capturing the necessary sample data without placing too much of a burden on teachers and institutions to report copying. Maintaining privacy of personal data, such as student contact details, is also a priority.

The School Surveys

For schools, two surveys are held annually, the Copyright Collection Survey (print/photocopy/scan) and the Electronic Use System (EUS) for digital use.

The University Survey

Eight universities are surveyed every year over a 12-week period. Staff in each of these universities record their digital use, and staff in six universities also record their photocopying.
The surveys have been developed over many years to manage the enormous volumes of quality content being used in educational institutions. Payments based on survey data support the creation or original Australian educational content and more, a virtuous circle of which surveys are a crucial component.

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