Wed | Oct 21, 2020

JAMCOPY warns schools against illegal copying of protected materials

Published:Wednesday | September 23, 2020 | 4:32 PM
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The Jamaican Copyright Licensing Agency (JAMCOPY) is advising teachers, school administrators, and parents that it is illegal to copy textbooks and other copyright-protected material without a licence from the entity or the permission of the copyright owner.

According to JAMCOPY, for more than 15 years, the Ministry of Education has delayed negotiating an agreement that would allow the legal copying of published material for students at the primary and secondary levels.

This is wrong and unacceptable, JAMCOPY stressed in a statement today.

It notes that the Jamaica Copyright Act clearly indicates that a licence is required before copyright materials can be reproduced in educational institutions.

It points out that the majority of colleges and universities are compliant with the law by having a JAMCOPY licence, adding that with the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, all JAMCOPY-licensed institutions benefited from expanded copying limits to help alleviate the challenges with teaching and learning during this crisis.

The agency argues that the absence of a licence by the education ministry means that children go through their time at school using illegally copied materials, while teachers and administrators break the law every time that they make those copies.

This illegal copying also threatens the future of the struggling educational publishing industry, JAMCOPY stated.

It says it wrote to newly-appointed education minister Fayval Williams today asking for a speedy resumption of negotiations.

The agency says it is hoping for a positive response so that schools can soon operate within the legal framework of Jamaica’s copyright laws.

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