Can I use this?

Dominga Gardner  •   Department of Educational Technology   •   Boise State University
Learner Description: This page was created for online adult learners entering their first program of online instruction.
What is copyright?

A copyright is a property right attached to an original work of art or literature. It grants the author or creator exclusive rights to reproduce, distribute, adapt, perform, or display the protected work. Other than someone to whom the author/creator has extended all or part of these rights, no one else may use, copy, or alter the work. Wrongful use of the material gives the copyright owner the right to seek and recover compensation in a court of law. A copyright gives the author or owner the right of control over all forms of reproduction, including photocopies, slides, recordings on cassettes and videotapes, compact disks, and other digital formats.

Teachers - Fair Use

Fair use explicitly allows use of copyrighted materials for educational purposes such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching, scholarship, and research. Rather than listing exact limits of fair use, copyright law provides four standards for determination of the fair use exemption:
  1. Purpose of use: Copying and using selected parts of copyrighted works for specific educational purposes qualifies as fair use, especially if the copies are made spontaneously, are used temporarily, and are not part of an anthology.
  2. Nature of the work: For copying paragraphs from a copyrighted source, fair use easily applies. For copying a chapter, fair use may be questionable.
  3. Proportion/extent of the material used: Duplicating excerpts that are short in relation to the entire copyrighted work or segments that do not reflect the "essence" of the work is usually considered fair use.
  4. The effect on marketability: If there will be no reduction in sales because of copying or distribution, the fair use exemption is likely to apply.

Scavenger Hunt: Fair Use

This activity has been designed to help you understand the fair use of copyrighting for teachers. The goal of this exercise is to help you distinguish what is fair use and not.
Please download this worksheet document to help fill in your answers. [Download Worksheet (.doc)]

Hunt 1 University of Maryland/University College
  • What are the rules for Fair Use for Teachers?
  • What shouold be avoided in fair use?
  • Is Permission Required? If so, when?
  • Is there a time restriction for copyrighted materials? If so why?
  • What is the T.E.A.C.H. Act
Hunt 2 Standford Copyright and Fair Use
  • Define Educational Use.
  • What is the rule for showing Television Programs?
  • What is the percentage of using music in instruction?
  • What are the rules of using photocopy materials in the classroom?
  • What Is the Difference Between the Guidelines and General Fair Use Principles?

[Answer Key] Check your answers when you are finished.
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