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Copyright Guidelines

Information about copyright for schools.

Copyright Guidelines for Schools

DISCLAIMER: Every effort has been made to ensure that the information in this document is as accurate as possible. However, this does not constitute legal advice and users should always verify the legal requirements for any uses of copyrighted materials.

Highlights of Copyright

Copyright protects the creator of a work from unauthorized use.

Fair Use Guidelines allow for some uses of copyrighted materials in a teaching situation, with restrictions placed on number of copies, amount of. material copied or displayed and number of uses.

Library users may make copies from copyrighted materials for personal research use.

Commercial video materials may be used in educational settings as part of face-to-face instruction.

Commercial video materials may not be used for public performances, whether fee or free, unless public performance rights have been obtained.

Definition of Copyright

Copyright protects the right of the creator of a work from unauthorized copying. In other words, if you develop a Web page or write a poem, or a book, or a piece of music, no one can reproduce it or sell it without your permission.


Copyright is one method of encouraging people or businesses to take the time and financial risk to produce and distribute information. Problems arise when others want to copy the information you, or others, have worked hard to produce. This really wasn't much of an issue until fast, inexpensive copy and printing machines, audio and video recorders, and computers came into use. Only rarely did anyone bother to copy long passages by hand, and certainly not multiple copies. However, with the advent of these fast, easy methods of copying, where to draw the line between the creators' rights and the users' rights became more complicated.

Creative Commons Licensing:

Creative Commons licensing makes it possible for creators of a work to determine what rights they would like to give to users of their work, ranging from placing it fully in the public domain to providing rights to use the work in specified ways.

Copyright Law for Distance Education:  

The Meaning and Importance of the TEACH Act

(NOTE: Enacted October 3, 2002)

Prepared for ALA by: Kenneth D. Crews, Professor of Law. Director, Copyright Management Center, Indiana University School of Law-Indianapolis. Available as HTML and PDF. Contents include: "The New Legislation - Background of Copyright Law - Context of Distance Education - Benefits of the TEACH Act - Requirements of the TEACH Act - Duties of Institutional Policymakers - Duties of Information Technology Officials - Duties of Instructors - Role for Librarians
Public Law 107-273: The TEACH Act (Complete text.)

Text of Public Law 107-273, SEC. 13301. EDUCATIONAL USE COPYRIGHT EXEMPTION: Technology, Education, and Copyright Harmonization Act of 2002. This text is at the U.S. Copyright Office Web site

 The TEACH Act became law on October 2, 2002 and fully revised Section 110(2) of the U. S. Copyright Act. It governs the lawful uses of copyrighted materials in distance education and outlines the ways in which educators may use clips of text, images, sound, and other works and include them in "distance education."

 A Fun-To-Do Copyright Tutorial

"Copyright Bay" is the most fun copyright learning experience available. Try it out for an adventure in the tortuous waters of copyright. You will learn a lot and have fun doing it.

For those studious types who want "just the facts, please," read on.