Come confess one and all!
Most of us teachers are familiar with photocopiers and in fact, I’ve never seen a resources room without at least one of them and sometimes a secret one stashed away for emergencies. They may be used for copying registers and reports but the vast majority of their life is usually spent copying books or other materials. This varies from copying a chapter for a student(s) who has forgotten his book to a student copying an entire book because it’s cheaper than buying one. But how legal is it? Students always want more than their course book but are not always willing to buy other materials so it seems natural that we teachers add more materials. For course books the resource books/test books are not generally ‘photocopy free’ but are made to supplement the entire book. Even internet resources have copyright unless they state otherwise.Copying may also have something to do with the change in EFL books as we are seeing a wider range of books as opposed to course books which you can buy a class set off. The new style have extensive teacher’s notes and extra materials. Thus, we choose to dip into them and copy them for our students. The problem is how much should you copy?
Copyright law protects the rights of authors by stating how much of books we are allowed to copy, for an average book some put it at 1 chapter. This means that if you are relying on copies instead of a book you’ll have to resource every class from a different book. It also means that you’ll have a mish-mash of sources which may not be cohesive. While this approach may be legally-minded it may also be because some departments believe that only using one book is too limiting, insufficient and unprofessional in higher education, whereas a stapled pack with the teacher’s name on is not. Whether every school or institution follows this quota, conveniently forgets about it or just leaves it to their teachers, is their own decision.
So, here are a few questions I’d love to hear your answers to:
Should we just use class sets to avoid copying?
Should we copy bits and pieces of various books and hope we end up with a good bank of materials?
Should we just forget books and make our own stuff?
Should we go completely Dogme and use no materials?
How much do you respect the quota?
How does your institution enforce/highlight the law?
Confess your sins!!