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Question about legality of creating and publishing supplementary material for a textbook

(2 Posts)
eslteacher Thu 21-Jul-11 11:03:26

Hi, I am at a loss as to where to find the answer to this question, but it ocurred to me it could be worth asking for advice here. Mumsnet is all-knowing!

I teach English as a Second/Foreign Language, and have created a lot of original materials for teaching (worksheets, exercises, flashcards, lesson plans etc) that I use in my own lessons and which are also popular with my teaching colleagues in my current job. I've decided I'd like to publish these materials on the internet by creating a website where they can be downloaded by other teachers, and in the long-term maybe try to generate a tiny bit of income via advertising/charging for access (though I'm not setting my hopes too high).

But I have also created quite a lot of materials that are explicitly "supplementary" materials for existing, published ESL textbooks and coursebooks. For example the International Express coursebooks published by OUP, and for Macmillan's ESL materials. Students are typically given these books to work through, and I've created role-play activities, discussion sheets etc that can be used in combination with these books, which relate specifically to the vocabulary/grammar taught in each chapter.

Do I have the right to publish this kind of thing, or not? I'm not actually reproducing the content of the coursebook itself, just taking the vocabulary list and grammar point from each chapter and creating an exercise based on them, plus maybe a "teachers' sheet" for advice on how to teach bits of the chapters. But I would be reproducing the name of the book on my materials and explicitly referring to the content of the book, if not actually reproducing it.

Any advice? I've tried to do some research of my own but not got very far.

mranchovy Thu 21-Jul-11 11:48:20

Maybe you can do all of this without infringing the publisher's IPR, maybe you can't. But if they decided they didn't like what you were doing or thought they were missing out on some revenues, they could send you a letter telling you to stop and/or demanding royalties. This letter will probably come from a lawyer, use a lot of technical terms and refer to cases you have never heard of. You will have no choice but to start spending large sums of time and money sorting it out.

Alternatively, contact them and discuss what you propose to do, pointing out the advantages to them in terms of sales of their publications to users of your materials with links from your web site to their distribution channels etc.

It should be fairly easy to get hold of the right people for an initial discussion - for instance there is an email address for the OUP EFL rights people here. They may have standard release forms to fill in, otherwise make sure you get any permission in writing (an email is considered to be in writing under English Law).

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