Update on data collection from school sector

July 25, 2023

As we have previously communicated to members, we are seeking data from the school sector using modern technologies that minimise adminstrative burden for teachers.

In April 2019, we let members know that we had negotiated a four-year agreement with representatives of the school sector for January 2019 to December 2022 (see here). We said:

The agreement provides certainty over payments for the four-year term; commits us to working together on a new measurement system to capture usage; and allows either party to go to the Copyright Tribunal if we cannot agree on the most reliable ways to measure usage.

In March 2020, surveys being conducted in schools were paused. Those surveys, conducted in small samples of different schools each year, were primarily designed to enable estimates of the overall extent of copying and sharing under the education statutory licence, to assist Copyright Agency and schools’ representatives negotiate copyright fees (see here). The data has also been used to assist with distributions of copyright fees.

We sought to reach agreement on data collection with representatives of the school sector, but were unfortunately unable to do so. In May 2021, we sought assistance from the Copyright Tribunal of Australia to establish new mechanisms for data collection using modern technologies (see here and here). A key consideration was minimising the administrative burden on teachers.

The surveys have not been resumed while the new data collection arrangements are being worked out. Concerns about administrative burden on teachers has been an important factor. We have continued to distribute copyright fees from the school sector, using a combination of data sources, including from an annual high-level online questionnaire for teachers on material they have copied and shared in the previous 12 months.

We updated members on progress with the Copyright Tribunal proceedings in September 2021 (here) and December 2022 (here). Importantly, the agreement on fees has been extended to at least the end of 2025 (here).

Copyright Agency believes that the data collection method should be able to be agreed between the parties, and we will continue to explore alternative dispute resolution pathways with the school sector representatives.

Copyright Agency and representatives of the school sector have now exchanged their preferred solutions. Each proposal comprises data collection from a sample of schools from two sources:

  1. multifunction devices (MFDs); and
  2. digital teaching environments (DTEs).

The differences relate to the mechanisms by which data would be collected.

For MFDs, the school representatives’ proposal is a data capture technology installed in Fujifilm MFDs. Copyright Agency’s proposal is a data capture technology from Papercut, that can be installed on any MFD. There are some differences in the way that the technologies work, with some consequences for factors such as management of privacy and security, manual processing, and costs.

For DTEs, the school representatives’ proposal involves manually generating reports of files uploaded to DTEs such as Google Drive. Copyright Agency’s proposal is an app that interacts with online learning platforms such as Google Classroom. Again, there are different consequences for factors such as management of privacy and security, manual processing, and costs.

We will keep members informed of further developments.