Copyright Awareness, Education and Training

Copyright literacy – awareness, education and training – is a growing area for all copyright professionals and those in copyright-based industries. What are you doing each day to spread the copyright message in your community? Below we discuss our initiatives in this growing area of copyright literacy. Also see Raising Copyright Literacy to Lower Copyright Risks.

Spreading Copyright Awareness

Copyright literacy

What are you doing to engage your community in discussions about copyright?

Copyright awareness could be as simple as discussing downloading (legally!) music with your children around the dinner table. Or sharing with a colleague a URL to an article about legally using trademarks. Or posting a message on your Facebook page about others obtaining permission to use your photos. Whether we create or use copyright-protected, it is easy to see how copyright (and the larger area of intellectual property) is an integral part of our daily lives.

One of my favorite quotes about understanding copyright law and “spreading the copyright message” comes from former U.S. Register for Copyright, Maria Pallante, where she states that copyright is a life skill:

It’s one of those life skills now, right? When you graduate from high school or college, you should know how to read a map, you should know how to use GPS, you should know a little bit about copyright. If you are somebody who is going to be in a field where you will encounter copyrighted materials all the time, you should know more. If you’re going to be an artist or musician and you’re getting a red-hot degree in the performing arts, you should know a lot. And I don’t think that’s quite the case — I don’t think it’s been built into the curricula.

Our Copyright Awareness Survey

In April 2017 on World IP Day, arranged a virtual global copyright conversation. Last week, we organized a lunch with an interesting and diverse group of copyright professionals in Ottawa, Canada as a way to get the conversation started in various Canadian and U.S. cities. Next week we will have a similar lunch in Washington DC, then one in Toronto the following week. What are you doing to get the global copyright conversation going? recently launched a survey on Copyright Awareness and Education. We’re obtaining excellent feedback including the following:

It is challenging and exciting to promote copyright awareness in a corporation.
Ongoing education is important (but hard to find time and money)
Copyright gets more important with each passing day.
It’s hard to get people interested…
​I am finding that it is something that one needs to stay current on and constant refreshing is helpful since most questions I receive do not have standard answers.

See our eTutorial, Raising Copyright Literacy to Lower Copyright Risks, to help you make a plan to increase copyright awareness in your library or organization.

Your Copyright Message

What is the copyright message you want to spread amongst your community and how will you succeed at doing so? Take a few moments to jot down some notes, discuss your ideas with colleagues, determine when the timing is right to proceed. And remember to turn each relevant moment into a teachable moment!

Defining Copyright Literacy

There is no dictionary definition of copyright literacy. While it is best defined according to the context and needs of your enterprise, we often use the following definition.

“Literacy is defined as competence or knowledge in a specific area. Copyright literacy is more specific; it refers to important competencies and knowledge that include identifying copyright-protected materials, navigating fair use and fair dealing, obtaining permissions and licenses where necessary, and recognizing infringement of copyright law.” –, “Copyright Literacy and Translating Copyright to a Life Skill”

Copyright literacy helps your copyright stakeholders unravel and understand the many layers of copyright pertaining to your enterprise in particular and their role specifically. It enables them to apply that information to their uses of copyright-protected materials, take an active role in copyright management, and decrease infringement risks.

Copyright literacy includes:

  • Understanding basic elements of copyright law
  • Being aware of the consequences of copyright and licensing violations
  • Recognizing copyright or licensing issues and seeking assistance
  • Appreciating that applying the law often depends on the facts of each situation
  • Consulting existing copyright policies, guidelines and other resources
  • Keeping current on amendments to copyright laws and court cases

How do these concepts first into your culture and enterprise? Who is your audience? Researchers? Librarians? Senior management? Engineers? Writers, photographers and designers? Social media people? The public? Think about how you would define and incorporate copyright literacy into your community. Then create a plan and start spreading the copyright message to your audience(s).

Registration is now open for Raising Copyright Literacy to Lower Copyright Risks eTutorial beginning October 23rd. This fully online course includes an optional virtual brainstorming session to jumpstart your copyright awareness and education. is a leader in copyright education and training. See all of our copyright courses including our fully online practical training Copyright Leadership Certificate.

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