As the new school year approaches, teachers often wonder what materials they can use to supplement the textbooks provided by their schools. Can you photocopy a short story for your English class? Can you show a movie to your third graders? Are there special rules for materials found on the Internet?
It isn’t possible to give a thorough answer in a blog post, but here are some quick tips. These are general guidelines only.
general, short works and short excerpts of larger works may be copied
one-per-student if (1) made from legally acquired originals and (2) there
isn’t enough time between the decision to use it and the moment of its
use to obtain permission. (This latter condition requires good faith, and
the work or excerpt can’t be used again without permission.)
works and short excerpts of larger works may be incorporated by a teacher
into a multimedia presentation (e.g., PowerPoint) for classroom teaching if
(1) made from legally acquired originals and (2) there isn’t enough time
between the decision to use it and the moment of its use to obtain
copying must not be a frequent occurrence (no more than nine times per
class per year).
excerpts may be incorporated into student multimedia projects if made
from legally acquired originals.
newspaper and news magazine articles may be reproduced.
anthologies from copyrighted material is not allowed.
may not reproduce workbooks or other “consumables.”
may not be charged any more than the actual copying cost.
rules apply to course packs sold to students.
Text (e.g., E-Books)
materials are subject to the same rules as print materials.
and Television Programs
general, movies and television shows that have been published for general
consumption (e.g., commercially sold DVDs) may be shown in the classroom
if legally acquired and shown for instructional purposes.
recorded from broadcast television (the “free” stations) may be shown
within a short time after the program airs (generally ten school days.)
may not use pirated copies or copies made from pirated copies.
fees are not allowed, even if charged indirectly.
general, teachers may not use cable television programs recorded from the
(Art and Photographs)
works may be used if limited to just a few (usually no more than five)
images by the same artist or photographer.
from collections may be used if they are a small part of the collection.
that have been legitimately obtained may be played for the class.
excerpts may be included in student multimedia presentations or in those
prepared by a teacher for classroom use.
on the Internet are subject to the same copyright rules as other
materials of the same type. Assume the materials are copyrighted unless
you have reason to know they are in the public domain (e.g., federal
publications or material published before 1923).
may be freely shared as long as they do not provide direct access to
materials that are password protected.
provisions must be honored.
Have a great school year.
Kathryn Page Camp is a licensed attorney and full-time writer. Her most recent book, Writers in Wonderland: Keeping Your Words Legal (KP/PK Publishing 2013), is a Kirkus’ Indie Books of the Month Selection. Kathryn is also the author of In God We Trust: How the Supreme Court’s First Amendment Decisions Affect Organized Religion (FaithWalk Publishing 2006) and numerous articles. You can learn more about Kathryn at www.kathrynpagecamp.com.