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Event Provides Guidance on Copyright and Creative Commons Licensing of Early Grade Reading Materials

Early grade reading (EGR) programs that receive grant funding have certain requirements regarding copyright and open licensing, but often the grantees don’t fully understand these requirements. Even if they do, they may struggle to meet them. For instance, they may be working with government officials who aren’t familiar with copyright rules or have concerns about how project materials will be shared.

To help address some of the questions that often arise around copyright and licensing issues, Reading within Reach (REACH) hosted a three-hour “short course” on December 11 titled “Guidance and Best Practices on Using Creative Commons Licensing for Early Grade Reading Program Resources.” Those who participated in person or via the Internet gained practical information and ideas regarding copyright and Creative Commons licensing and USAID’s policies for open licensing of early grade reading program materials.

Presenters were Meredith Jacob, Assistant Director of the Program on Information, Justice and Intellectual Property at American University; Gayle Girod, Chief Innovation Counsel for the Global Development Lab and the Bureau for Economic Growth, Education, and Environment; and Rebecca Rhodes, Acting Team Lead, United States Agency for International Development (USAID) Reading Team. The training was facilitated by Aristarick Lyimo, Training Specialist, and Alison Pflepsen, Reading Program Specialist, of REACH.

Jacob defined and explained copyright and open licensing, and provided an overview of how Creative Commons licensing works. Girod addressed key questions relating to resources created under USAID awards, including what USAID policies and practices are with respect to copyright and open licensing. She further encouraged those implementing USAID early grade reading programs to review the terms of their award, and to work with Missions and USAID headquarters to clarify any issues. She noted that people are welcome to contact her if they have questions.

Rhodes discussed how USAID grantees can work with USAID and with governments to address any issues or concerns that may arise regarding the copyright and licensing of materials created by or used in projects. Pflepsen and Lyimo concluded the workshop by sharing some “steps for success” for early grade reading programs when planning for copyright and open licensing of EGR program materials. These steps include the following:

1.      Plan for copyright and licensing issues with stakeholders during the program design phase.

2.      Agree what copyright and licensing will be applied.

3.      Anticipate and plan for potential challenges.

4.      Identify whether existing material will be used or adapted, and plan accordingly.

5.      Take advantage of sources of openly licensed EGR materials.

6.      Work with authors and illustrators.

7.      Review print-ready materials with an eye to copyright and licensing language.

The session closed with a lively period of participant discussion and experience sharing. The training was organized by Reading within Reach (REACH) on behalf of the Global Reading Network. REACH is supported by USAID and implemented by University Research Co., LLC (URC).

Access presentation materials and a video from this event here.