PRH Announces a Last Extension to Its Pandemic-Era Open-License Program

In News by Porter Anderson

Set up in March 2020, Penguin Random House’s open-license program allows for content usage in remote-teaching.

Image – Getty iStockphoto: Undrey

By Porter Anderson, Editor-in-Chief | @Porter_Anderson

A New Story-Time Initiative Opens July 1
In an announcement from its US corporate offices, Penguin Random House says today (December 7) that it will make one last extension of its open-license program for online story-time and classroom read-aloud videos and live events. This final extension is to run through the remainder of the current school year, ending June 30.

Penguin Random House logoAs Publishing Perspectives readers will recall, in the onset of the coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic, many publishers quickly moved to create what were effectively temporary copyright exceptions to allow, as we wrote then, “the use of their content in settings that may be as different as a classroom and a living room.”

Educational norms were in upheaval, educators and families were scrambling to organize at-home teaching regimes, and many publishers realized immediately that teachers and parents needed to be able to deploy content normally restricted to certain classroom usage, so that it could be used in Internet teaching sessions, online readings, and more.

The States-based collective copyright management provider Copyright Clearance Center, for example, established an “education continuity license to enable creative approaches to remote teaching and distance learning made necessary by the pandemic.” By the time CCC could announce the new temporary exception to the news media, more than 40 publishers had signed on.

Penguin Random House reports today that in granting its own “open license,” it supported more than 40,000 educators, librarians, bookstores and other organizations. And those others, the company says, have included New England Patriots cheerleaders and NASA astronauts.

“Fortunately,” the company writes, “as an ever-increasing majority of libraries, schools, bookstores, and other institutions open for in-person events, this temporary program has met its original goal to help ease some of the effort for educators and librarians and will be concluded.”

In closing the current program in late June, the company says it will open a new effort “to better serve students, educators, and librarians, keeping many of the elements and ease of requesting permission to record and share read-aloud and story time events.

“Shaped by educator and librarian feedback from over the past two years,” today’s press statement reads, “the open license will continue to be granted to those recorded or streamed live read-aloud events to only the students, educators, librarians, or others who are in a closed Internet environment for select and authorized viewers.”

With a start date of July 1 for this new story-time initiative, PRH invites educators who have questions prior to hearing further about it from the company, to be in touch at the email address

More from us on international issues in copyright is here, more on Penguin Random House is here, more on educational publishing is here

More from us on the coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic and its impact on international book publishing is here.

About the Author

Porter Anderson

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Porter Anderson has been named International Trade Press Journalist of the Year in London Book Fair's International Excellence Awards. He is Editor-in-Chief of Publishing Perspectives. He formerly was Associate Editor for The FutureBook at London's The Bookseller. Anderson was for more than a decade a senior producer and anchor with, CNN International, and CNN USA. As an arts critic (Fellow, National Critics Institute), he was with The Village Voice, the Dallas Times Herald, and the Tampa Tribune, now the Tampa Bay Times. He co-founded The Hot Sheet, a newsletter for authors, which now is owned and operated by Jane Friedman.