What is intellectual property?1

Many of us have created our own resources, including booklets, powerpoints and planning at some point in our career or on a very frequent basis. These may contain text and images. Both text and images can be copyrighted, so we must be careful if we are distributing them beyond our students.

Often we will share these via social media for the benefit of others. However, when this work is shared under another person’s name, without acknowledgement of the original author or used by another person for commercial gain, we need to know if this breaks any laws and if so, what might be the consequences? Many of us will consider this morally unacceptable, some of us may be unconcerned, and others may not realise that there are laws.

Here are some examples:

  • My own work on narrative has been passed on outside the LA I was working with and I was then told by a person using it that it was not mine. Whilst this work belongs to the LA, it had had my name and the name of the LA removed.
  • Curriculum planning being willingly shared but then used in CPD by the presenter who claimed in was theirs.
  • Curriculum planning being willingly shared and then presented by another person in a meeting as theirs.
  • Colleagues who have shared work for free via a well-known resource sharing site and then it being sold by others.
  •  A published book from which large chunks were ‘cut and pasted’ and delivered on YouTube.

We share because we want others to benefit and to save people time, however, the deliberate appropriation of others’ work is at best disingenuous, at worst dishonest.


  • Checking with the Copyright Licensing Agency.
  • Seek permission from the Copyright holder to use an extract from a published work.
  • Seek permission, and then acknowledge the original author, may be delighted that their work is being give additional publicity.
  • Acknowledge help you have been given in footnotes, endnotes, bibliographies as appropriate.

Acknowledgments: @whatkatydidnext@mssfax@Heimdayl@greeborunner

Make sure to come back next week for part two about digital texts, access and copyright!

To find out more about what can be copied under the CLA Education Licence, please visit: https://cla.co.uk/licencetocopy