is Public domain?
A: Works that were copyrighted prior to 1922
do you get reported for copyright infringement?
A: Anyone can report you a school employee, visitor, parent,
I show a movie or video clip in my classroom?
A: Sure as long as it is tied directly to your lesson plan
for that particular day it falls within the fair use guidelines.
Be sure not to show a movie as a reward.
is a blanket permission for videos? How do I know if my
school has one?
A: You should check with your media specialist or librarian
at your school to find out what copyright laws are protected
from. These blanket permissions usually only cover certain
production companies. Don't assume the video in question
is automatically covered.
if the video says "Private Home Use Only" on the VHS tape
or DVD can I still use it in my classroom?
A: As long as you use the video for instruction to supplement
your lesson you can use the video within fair use guidelines.
movies- is it legal to borrow a video tape from a library
and run it through a digitizer and load it into your computer
to play on the projector?
A: No, this is not legal. Doing this would be making an
illegal copy and an adaptation, which violates two rights
of the copyright holder.
I make a copy of a VHS onto a DVD in case teachers need
a different version?
A: No, the Digital Millennium Copyright Act allows a library
to make a format transfer only when the original format
is no longer available. VHS is not obsolete yet, you cannot
make a backup just to have two different formats.
library owns a 1986 videotape that is deteriorating rapidly
since it is used multiple times a year. We have searched
everywhere and cannot find a replacement. The production
company no longer exists. Is it legal to make a DVD copy
of this VHS so teachers can continue to use this in their
A: Yes, the rule on library archival copiers would let you
make a digital copy (up to 3 copies) of a deteriorating
work. However, the copy cannot leave the library, so maybe
students could watch the video in the library.
Print Materials >
I copy from a textbook so that students can write on the page?
A: Assuming each student has a textbook, and you aren't trying
to avoid buying another textbook this is probably fair use.
As long as this is a one-time thing, fair use does not allow
the item to be repeatedly copied without permission.
I copy a graphic from a book then pass out copies?
A: Distribution, First Sale Doctrine
if I run out of workbooks? Can I copy a page for a student?
A: There is a prohibition on copying consumables. You can
let the students share a workbook then write on their own
Music Lyrics- A teacher wants to make copies of the lyrics
of a song for students to read as they listen to the song
they are studying. The students will then use the lyrics for
a reflective activity and relate them to the theme of a book.
Is this within Fair Use guidelines?
A: Under the print guidelines you would treat the lyrics as
poetry, so the teacher can only copy these lyrics ONE TIME.
If you make a poster or transparency you can use it as many
times as you wish. Multimedia guidelines (such as PowerPoint)
are also a little less strict on poetry.
< Multimedia (PowerPoint,
Movie Maker, Photostory, etc.) >
Q: If I
download 10% or 30 seconds of an audio to insert into Movie
Maker, can I use that same 30 seconds as a loop over and over
throughout the project?
A: The guidelines have been met by the audio percentage or
time, fair use does not prohibit looping.
Can I use screenshots to enhance faculty members' understanding
of a new software manual?
A: If the use is going to be fairly limited, then this should
fall within fair use.
< Computer Software >
Can I load my software program (CD-Rom)
on another teacher's computer?
A: No, you can make a back-up copy for yourself, but the software
is meant to only be loaded onto one computer.
Q:What is Turnitin.com or similar websites?
How can I use this as a teacher?
A: You can take a portion of your student's paper or presentation
and enter it into this online database and it will tell you
if your student has committed plagiarism.
Media (mp3)- Does it violate copyright laws for a student
to have mp3 files saved on their personal space on the school
A: Answer: As long as the students are not sharing files to
avoid purchasing music they should be fine. If the school
district frowns upon music files on their server, it may be
best for students to store mp3 files on a flash drive so the
district does not have to be involved.
Q: A senior
class wants to play two songs during their graduation ceremony.
The graduation will take place in the school gymnasium. Are
copyright issues involved?
can I find free or inexpensive music for podcasts or other
A: Or use the create music in Photostory
rather than download copyrighted music
Q: Is it
legal to play a complete popular song and have it tied to
a lesson, or is it still limited to 30 seconds.
A: The 30 seconds rule is for multimedia presentations only
(such as PowerPoint, etc)
A: You can play the whole song form CD or mp3 if you are using
it for instruction.
Q: I am
training students to use cameras and video edited software
to make a daily presentation of announcements for the school.
Would it be fair use to use a few seconds of music from CDs
A: The main problem is the legality issue of fair use. This
is not face-to-face instruction it is a public performance
when it is broadcasted to the entire school. So this would
not be considered fair use.
I play streaming radio on the internet such as Pandora for
my classroom for background music?
A: Not without a license. This is considered a public performance
and the website is only meant for one person to listen at
a time. Some businesses tried to use this as Muzak and lost
their case in court.
<Pictures/ Graphics >
I scan book covers and post them to my web site?
A: You can copy one graphic from a book and retain that copy
for teaching purposes. However, you cannot redistribute that
copy to the world. So no, this is not fair use.
This website is not intended to replace legal advice. For
more information please consult your school system's attorney.
- Topics from past issues of "Copyright Questions of the
Month" by Carol Simpson in LibraryMedia Connection (LMC).
- Faculty members of Auburn City Schools
- Faculty members of Auburn University in the Educational