J.K. Rowling relaxes Harry Potter permissions for teachers

Across the world, millions of people are staying home as the coronavirus pandemic makes it unsafe to gather in offices or take public transportation or pretty much do anything that involves groups of people in one place. Young people are feeling the strain, too, as schools everywhere are either closing down or holding class remotely. And teachers able to do the latter just got a few more options.

According to her website, author J.K. Rowling and her agents, The Blair Partnership, “recognise the importance of sharing story time and reading aloud in times of adversity.” So they’re relaxing restrictions on teachers recording themselves reading from Rowling’s phenomenally successful Harry Potter books. Basically, teachers are now allowed to read the books on camera to their students without having to get a license, so long as they follow some guidelines. For instance, they have to post whatever they record to their schools’ “secure networks or closed educational platforms such as Google Classroom, Schoology, Edmodo and Discovery Education.” So if you’re thinking you now have permission to read passages from Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone aloud on YouTube, you have another thing coming.

Rowling and company are also only extending this privilege through the end of the school year, after which they ask that whatever videos were uploaded be deleted. And they would rather teachers not amend or abridge the text of any of the books if possible. Don’t you dare cut out the the S.P.E.W. subplot from Goblet of Fire.

So this is a nice gesture, but I am the only one surprised to learn that there were licensing restrictions on teachers reading Harry Potter to their students in the first place? I mean, it makes sense — surely Rowling’s people would prefer these kids’ parents buy the Harry Potter books rather than have them read aloud for free, but you’d figure there’d be more leeway for educators, at least.

Then again, maybe the normal licensing requirements are really lax in the first place. Anyway, Rowling and company say they’re making this move because they “recognise the importance of sharing story time and reading aloud in times of adversity,” and they’re promising more to come. “The open licence for teachers is the first of several initiatives being planned to help bring Harry Potter to children at home, which will be announced shortly.”

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h/t The Hill

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