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Virtual Learning Platforms Thread, Copyright and online resources in Technical; Where do schools stand on copyrighted material and VLEs? Is it OK if the VLE needs to be logged into? ...
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    Quatermass's Avatar
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    Copyright and online resources

    Where do schools stand on copyrighted material and VLEs? Is it OK if the VLE needs to be logged into? Or is it still illegal even then to have a Boardworks worksheet on there? Or parts of one?

    For example a quick search for schools using Show My Homework in "public" mode (i.e no logon required) brings up loads of ExamPro, Boardworks stuff etc - are they all breaking the law?

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    My understanding is that it is still wrong even if the VLE needs to be logged into. I recall a story years back on TES forums where a parent was watching their child on Moodle and they saw copyrighted materials on the course -and unfortunately for the school the parent knew the company director of those materials, reported the school and they got into trouble. I suspect you see a lot of such materials either because people simply don't know or because they think it's Ok behind closed doors - or because they bank on nobody reporting them. (Re Boardworks though, such companies do have licences allowing you to use their stuff on VLES but it's not by default)

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    A lot of tools such as Exampro, Boardworks strictly prohibit them being put on a VLE if you read the License Agreement. Some sell a special VLE version which is more than the usual one.

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    That'll be because Boardworks didn't buy format-shifting rights from the original author of the resource when it was originally bundled... those would have to be negotiated independantly from their original contract with that producer, appropriate license fees paid, and an updated SCORM / VLE package produced. This all means a pile of legal fees etc that would all need recovering as well as the producer's licensing fee. Most places ignore copyright and just duplicate it anyway, which drives the prices up of the VLE licensed versions due to low sales.

    As a for instance: Just received this morning AQA GCE MEDIA STUDIES MEST1 and MEST3 DVDs for revision purposes. These contain past exam content etc as far as I'm aware. In with the DVDs was a letter from the AQA...

    Please note that for copyright reasons DVDs cannot be duplicated and must be returned to this office within one month
    You can guess what the first thing to happen was this morning. Cue a teacher turning up on my doorstep sporting DVDs and letter saying "can we copy these onto the VTLE as we have to send them back - they're for the kids to revise from so it's ok".

    Quite simple: no it isn't ok. Generally most teachers think "educational use" is an open-exclusion from any/all copyright & licensing laws.

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    All Boardworks' resources can be stored and accessed via a VLE as long as they are only accessible to students and staff of the school that purchased the software (i.e. They have to log in to the VLE to access them). This is true for our VLE and non-VLE versions.

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    You saying that directly contradicts the info printed on the sleeve insert of most boardworks packages I've come across iirc (don't have any to hand here, so I could be wrong)
    Last edited by Marci; 25th July 2013 at 02:14 PM.

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