Teaching Copyright Literacy in University Contexts

Preconditions, challenges and prospects


  • Charlotte Högberg The Libraries of the Joint Faculties of Humanities and Theology, Lund University




The IFLA Statement on Copyright Education and Copyright Literacy declares that libraries should work to enhance copyright literacy and that librarians should function as educators to achieve this. Libraries should offer workshops and training, especially when laws are amended. In the EU, member states need to implement the new copyright directive in their national legislation by June 2021 at the latest. This calls for additional focus on copyright education in the near future. This paper seeks to gain understanding of the prospects for teaching copyright literacy in university contexts and how the education best promote learning, by applying principles of learning processes on the teachings of copyright.

Copyright is foremost a practical matter for students and faculty, which stresses the importance of shaping the content in relation to the target group. While undergraduate students struggle with how to re-use other sources for their work, researchers are more likely to struggle with what rights they are signing away or how to re-use their own work. Tailoring instruction is crucial, but what learning processes are important specifically for the subject of copyright, and how do we best approach them to foster learning?

A set of principles is identified: activate prior knowledge, set the tone, establish ground for motivation and use case bases learning activities. These principles can enhance learning but also pose challenges, such as if prior knowledge of a differing national legislation is applied in an incorrect manner, or how to create a positive classroom climate where participants are at ease with sharing previous lack of knowledge or unlawful practice. By the use of practical scenarios make it easier to understand how copyright works. By using cases set within familiar contexts, a deeper understanding can develop and students and faculty can be empowered to solve copyright issues or know when to ask for support.


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How to Cite

Högberg, C. (2020). Teaching Copyright Literacy in University Contexts: Preconditions, challenges and prospects. Septentrio Conference Series, (3). https://doi.org/10.7557/5.5380