As we navigate another period of lockdown, it can be difficult to know what the ‘rules’ are regards making recordings of reading aloud/story time for children. Many children’s publishers have confirmed current guidelines for educators – others are yet to update them for 2021 (as at time of writing). I’ve gathered as many as possible below for information. Note that each publisher has slightly different guidelines and variations in their policy but nearly all state:
- specific criteria must be met when creating your recording in order for the permission to be valid
- permissions are for recordings made for educational use (not for profit making events)
- deadlines apply as to when recordings must be removed
- recordings can only be shared via closed educational platforms or if necessary, on YouTube as ‘unlisted’ (private) links
In many cases you will need to notify the publisher of your intention and send them your recording. Please do read the FULL guidelines from the publisher you need permission from.
Bonnier Books – recordings can be shared on closed educational platforms only – not valid as permission for any project which seeks to financially gain from a reading. Valid until 31 March 2021. Full guidelines
Bloomsbury – not yet updated for 2021
Chicken House – whilst schools are continuing to teach remotely, online readings can take place through a password protected area of a school’s website or through platforms such as Google Classrooms or similar. Online readings should not be made publicly available online and must only be accessible by the students of the school. The readings must be removed from the platform as from 1st April 2021. Full guidelines
Collins, HarperCollins, Egmont – permission to read titles online until and including, April 1st 2021. These virtual readings may be streamed live via digital platforms, or if recorded, posted in closed educational platforms. If a closed platform is unavailable, recorded videos of readings may be uploaded to YouTube as long as they are marked “Unlisted”. Full guidelines
Faber – full permission for anyone to record themselves reading from Faber books online has been extended until 31st March 2021. Any recordings must be taken offline by this date. Full guidelines
Firefly Press – permission granted for educators to read aloud online and on video until February 2021 via closed platforms or if unavailable, via unlisted YouTube video. Full guidelines
Flying Eye / Nobrow books – permitting teachers to create and share story time and read-aloud videos and live events for families stuck at home on closed educational platforms or privately online, until 31st March 2021. Full guidelines
Hachette – School story time or classroom read aloud videos may only be created and posted to closed educational platforms, until the end of March 2021, after which they must be removed. Full guidelines
Little Tiger – permission for educators to share read aloud videos, and display the book on closed educational platforms or YouTube provided the link is private (unlisted). These videos may be hosted on the educational platform and/or YouTube (as “Unlisted”) until 31st March 2021. Full guidelines
Macmillan Children’s Books – permission for teachers to live stream or post videos reading any children’s books published by Macmillan Children’s Books. Readings are allowed to remain online for 4 months after posting and they reserve the right to request that you take down any reading that does not reflect well on the publishing company or the book. Full guidelines
Penguin Random House – Until 30th June 2021, UK-based teachers and librarians will be able to share story time, read-aloud videos and live events stories online on closed educational platforms or as ‘private’ Youtube videos. Full guidelines
Quarto Kids – educators are welcome to read any Quarto Group title to children via virtual means. However, please do not archive or save the recordings for continuous use. If being used as part of an educational curriculum, recordings must be removed or disabled after 30 day, and only shared on closed/private platforms. Full guidelines
Scholastic – not yet updated for 2021
Simon and Schuster – Until 31st March 2021, permission to livestream and post readings of Simon & Schuster books online for your pupils, within the confines of educational platform or private YouTube listing.
Usborne – permission for educators to create and share readings of Usborne books, and display the illustrations as part of the readings, sharing on a closed group or educational platform including by sharing an unlisted YouTube link. This permission is effective from 24 March 2020 and has now been extended to 31st July 2021 after which all recordings should be deleted. Full guidelines
Walker Books – educators providing distance learning to students in a virtual classroom setting can create story time or classroom read-aloud videos and post to closed educational platforms or as ‘private’ YouTube links until Easter 2021, after which they should be removed from the educational platform and/or from YouTube. Full guidelines
This list is not exhaustive and will be updated as more information and confirmation of guidelines from publishers becomes available. Information is accurate at time of publication, but subject to change as the pandemic situation changes. As mentioned above, please read the FULL guidelines to ensure any recording made meets the required criteria for the permission to be valid. If you are uncertain then it is best to contact the publisher in question directly.