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J.K. Rowling gives back amidst coronavirus outbreak
Teachers can now bring the magical world of “Harry Potter” to their students who are stuck at home due to the coronavirus.
On Friday, March 20th, J.K. Rowling announced that she has relaxed the copyright permissions until the end of the school year so educators could post videos of themselves reading from “Harry Potter” books. In return, Rowling simply asked that teachers publish their reading the books aloud onto a closed educational platform rather than social media.
“Delighted to help teachers reach kids at home by relaxing the usual license required to post videos of themselves reading Harry Potter books,” Rowling posted on Twitter. She followed it up with the hashtag #HarryPotterAtHome.
Delighted to help teachers reach kids at home by relaxing the usual licence required to post videos of themselves reading Harry Potter books. Go to https://t.co/77d90pkiYK to find the guidelines. Be well, everyone. More soon! #HarryPotterAtHome
— J.K. Rowling (@jk_rowling) March 20, 2020
Prior to the announcement, teachers were trying to find creative ways to share educational and fun content with their students while schools are shut down. However, many were having trouble, especially when it came to reading to school children, because posting videos of book readings aloud is prohibited under copyright law without permission from the author or publisher.
Rowling’s open license to help bring the Harry Potter books to children at home will be followed by several initiatives, “which will be announced shortly,” according to a statement on the author’s website.
Rowling’s website provides a full set of guidelines for teachers, who are being asked to post the readings to schools’ secure networks or closed educational platforms such as Google Classroom, Schoology, Edmodo and Discovery Education. Teachers are also required to notify The Blair Partnership via email when they post a read-aloud video along with some additional information such as approximate length of reading and name and location of the school.
Publishers such as Simon & Schuster, HarperCollins and Scholastic have also lifted copyright restrictions due to the COVID-19 outbreak, and even Audible launched a website called Audible Stories where people can listen to audiobooks for free.
By: Maytinee Kramer