Current State of Copyright Awareness in Education
Many scholars believe that the rate of frequent copyright infringements among students and other users of copyright materials in academic environment is an indication that the awareness of copyright is still extremely low, especially, today that technology has made it easier to photocopy, plagiarize and pirate other peoples materials. This shows that there is little respect for creativity, so copyright protection is considered unnecessary. The high price of foreign and quality books is another major factor. As they are luxury goods, people still like pirated books.
It is however worrying to note once again that the issue of copyright has now become a global concern and infringement of copyright law has also received prominence, especially in the academic environment where a larger group of copyrighted material users are found. for instance, in an educational institution where lecturers rely on copyrighted materials to teach their students as the students also often consult copyrighted materials to meet their educational requirements, in such an environment, it is admitted that lack of copyright awareness may result in uncontrollable copyright infringement activities.
The fact that what pertains in other foreign universities seems to be absent in most Ghanaian universities on copyright awareness is a great worrying to the copyright industry.
One may even wonder what happens at a university where there is no copyright and access policies in this era where copyright infringement has become more evident with the emergence of advanced technology, as it is now possible to copy and use literary works that are likely to be protected by copyright. The situation at most Ghanaian schools reveal that many students, who cannot afford the prices of materials and textbooks, now make photocopies of essential texts and materials for their education at a low cost in the detriment of the copyright holders.
However it can only be concluded that the detriments caused by copyright infringement do not only affect authors but also publishers and other stakeholders in the publishing industry as a whole.
Considering that schools forms part of the major users of copyright-protected materials in Ghana, it is right to conclude that based upon the role of copyright in our knowledge-based economy, it is important that any serious enquiry into the subject of intellectual property (IP) has to consider this crucially important role of copyright in the production and dissemination of knowledge and knowledge-based products.
This is because most Ghanaian schools have library blocks resourced with various copyright-protected materials which are made available to both students and lecturers for the production of term papers, essays, report, thesis or dissertation, articles, journals and other scholarly publications by the students and lecturers. This suggests that the schools must therefore be positioned to effectively advocate their academic and institutional values and defend its teaching, research and service mission through effective copyright awareness.