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Using free publisher resources during COVID-19

9 April 2020

Many authors and publishers have generously made educational resources available for schools to use during the COVID-19 crisis.  The Australian school sector is grateful to these authors and publishers for their support, and encourages teachers to continue to support the Australian creative community at this difficult time, whether it is by reading Australian stories to children under the new COVID-19 Storytime Agreement, or exploring the many resources that Australian publishers have made available to support teachers during remote learning due to the COVID-19 crisis.

There are a number of other freely available resources such as open educational resources, and Creative Common licensed resources. This information sheet does not apply to those free and openly licensed resources.   

NCU has been receiving many questions about how teachers are allowed to use the resources that have been made available by publishers to use to support schools delivering remote learning due to COVID-19.

The answer is very simple: during COVID-19, teachers can use any resource for the purposes of remote education if they follow the NCU’s COVID-19 Copyright Guidelines.  Teachers do not have to obtain publisher or author permission for the teaching activities that are covered in the Guidelines.  

However, some authors and publishers have given additional permissions to use their materials. You will need to check the terms of those permissions to see what activities have been permitted.   NCU can assist you with this if you need support.

For example, the NCU Guidelines describe the circumstances where a teacher may be allowed to make copies of resources for students, and suggests smart copying practices for how any copies should be made available to students. 

However some publishers have made content available on the internet for free for parents and students to access during COVID-19. This material can be used by students according to the conditions established by the publisher.

In summary, there are many wonderful resources that have been made available to help teachers, parents and students at this difficult time. Teachers should feel free to use these resources if they are useful to their teaching activities, or provide additional support to parents and students to support home-based learning.

 For other content, teachers should feel comforted that they can safely use copyright materials - including publisher content - to provide remote learning to students during COVID-19 if they follow the advice set out in the NCU’s COVID-19 Copyright Guidelines . There is no need to contact the copyright owner for permission if your use falls within the guidelines.