Copyright in the Classroom
Copyright notes from a practicing lawyer and retired librarian
For teaching students
For using databases
Discover (United) Education Streaming copyright
Questions and Answers
Q and A
Note concerning computer software: If you will check the incidents database on Carol Simpson's site, you will see several instances involving improper download or loading of software. Please check before adding personally purchased or downloaded software to school computers.
Q--What are some good guidelines for what I can photocopy and what I can't?
A-- For a full discussion of this area, go to http://www.copyright.gov/circs/circ21.pdf , particularly noting pages 6-8 in the pdf. The shorter version (http://www.vpul.upenn.edu/osl/photocpy.html) is: I. Guidelines
A. Single Copying for Teachers. A single copy may be made of any of the following by or for a teacher at his or her individual request for his or her scholarly research or use in teaching or preparation to teach a class:
1. A chapter from a book;
2. An article from a periodical or newspaper;
3. A short story, short essay or short poem whether or not from a collective work;
4. A chart, graph, diagram, drawing, cartoon or picture from a book, periodical, or newspaper.
B. Multiple Copies for Classroom Use. Multiple copies (not to exceed in any event more than one copy per pupil in a course) may be made by or for the teacher giving the course for classroom use or discussion provided:
1. The copying meets the tests of brevity and spontaneity as defined below; and,
2. Meets the cumulative effect test as defined below; and,
3. Each copy includes a notice of copyright.
1. Poetry: (1) A complete poem if less than 250 words and if printed on not more than two pages, or (2) from a longer poem, an excerpt of not more than 250 words.
2. Prose: (1) Either a complete article, story or essay of less than 2,500 words, or (2) an excerpt from any prose work of not more than l,000 words or 10% of the work, whichever is less, but in any event a minimum of 500 words.
3. Illustration: One chart, graph, diagram, drawing, cartoon or picture per book or per periodical issue.
4. "Special" works: Certain works in poetry, prose or in "poetic prose" which often combine language with illustrations and which are intended sometimes for children and at other times for a more general audience, fall short of 2,500 words in their entirety. Paragraph "b" above notwithstanding, such "special works" may not be reproduced in their entirety; however, an excerpt comprising not more than two of the published pages of such special work and containing not more than 10 percent of the words found in the text thereof, may be reproduced.
1. The copying is at the instance and inspiration of the individual teacher, and
2. The inspiration and decision to use the work and the moment of its use for maximum teaching effectiveness are so close in time that it would be unreasonable to expect a timely reply to a request for permission.
C. Cumulative Effect
1. The copying of the material is for only one course in the school in which the copies are made.
2. Not more than one short poem, article, story, essay or two excerpts may be copied from the same author, not more than three from the same collective work or periodical volume during one class term.
3. There shall not be more than nine instances of such multiple copying for one course during one class term.
Q -- Can I show a movie as a reward or after work activity, after all it is being shown in school?
A -- Not without the proper licensing such as is available from http://www.movlic.com/ . Otherwise, movies shown must meet all fair use elements, one of the most prominent being its use in direct instruction . For more on this see: http://www.ala.org/ala/professionalresources/libfactsheets/alalibraryfactsheet07.cfm or
Q -- Can I play a CD of music as background noise while the students work
A -- "Well, they can play the radio if they use a personal type radio. Other recorded music would depend on when the music was recorded. If the music was recorded before 1971, there is no copyright on the recording (there is on the underlying sheet music, but that's a different situation). Anything recorded after 1971 is probably protected by a copyright in the recording (the symbol is a P in a circle, like the C in a circle for print copyright). And they can play music if it is a direct teach -- they are teaching the music, such as in music appreciation class."
Q-- Can my children make a poetry notebook ?
A -- Depends on how many poems they use from a particular author, if you pick them or the children choose and copy them themselves, and in general how the notebook is put together and details of assignment.
Q -- Can I use pictures from over the internet in projects?
A -- It is best to find copyright available pics from sources such as Creative Commons, Pics4learning and such. However, generally the answer on this is to follow the multimedia guidelines applying the rules to pictures found on the internet as well as other locations.
Q -- Can I reproduce a book or cartoon character to use on a bulletin board, painted mural, etc?
A -- No, it is a trademarked character and use only hits one of the fair use foursome (must hit all four to be fair use).Using a single copy in teaching (not a bulletin board that is just decorative) is a plus point, but some created to avoid buying licensed art is a negative point.
Q and A from LM Net listserv
Q -- Is it a copyright violation for a teacher to stream movies from his Amazon account to his classroom?
A -- I'm in no way a lawyer but if you look at what Amazon has to say, I
don't think classroom viewing is permitted as noted in the Amazon's
This additional doc is also available. Not relevant for your question however.