FAQs

  • View FAQs and scenarios below from students and faculty of Newton Public Schools. To explore more information and other FAQs about copyright and fair use visit the links below. Also see Copyright Catechism: practical answers to everyday school dilemmas by Carol Simpson. All NPS libraries have a copy.

    Copyright Kids http://www.copyrightkids.org/
    Includes copyright basics & FAQs, definitions, a copyright challenge quiz & more.

    Copyright with Cyberbee http://www.cyberbee.com/cb_copyright.swf
    Interactive questions and answers about copyright.

    Q & A Beckercopyright.com http://beckercopyright.com/questions-and-answers/
    Law and Education Consultant Gary Becker website. FAQs related to video, music, and multimedia.


    BOOK COVER QUESTIONS

    A teacher wants to enlarge a book cover illustration for bulletin board decoration. May the teacher do so using an opaque projector?
    No. The book cover illustration is copyrighted.

    Can I use the cover of books on bulletin board, bookmarks, podcast reviews?
    Bulletin Boards: "A teacher may copy (or ask to have copied) for the purposes of research, teaching or preparation for teaching...a single copy of a picture from a book." (Simpson, Carol, Copyright for Schools, p. 54)

    While guidelines do address graphics for instruction, many of the graphics in schools are used for decoration, not for instruction. The guidelines and the fair use tests are designed to support use of copyright protected materials for direct instruction but making your school or classroom look "cute" or "welcoming" is not a stated purpose of fair use.
    (Simpson, Carol, Copyright for Schools, p. 51)

    COPYING QUESTIONS

    How many pages of a book can you copy? How often can you use it?
    Teachers can make a single copy of a chapter from a book for classroom instruction. If making multiple copies of the chapter, no more than one copy per student. Picture books are looked upon differently, with only two pages or no more than 10% of the entire book. This chapter/pages can not be copied from term/year to term/year.(Patti - Simpson, Carol. Copyright for Schools p56)

    If you copy poems from a book is that OK if you cite them?
    If a poem is less than 250 words, and not more than two pages, you can use the entire poem. If it is longer than 250 words ONLY 250 word can be used. You may only make enough copies for the number of students in the class, as part of classroom instruction. Each copy must be labeled with the copyright information on it. This practice can not be done every term/year. If you plan on using the poem every year you should write to the copyright holder for permission. (Simpson, Carol. Copyright for Schools. p56)

    Can I copy a video tape that I own to a DVD?
    No. Any change of format is a copyright violation. Either contact the producer/publisher for permission or purchase another copy in the new format.

    Can I copy pages from a workbook for my students?
    No, a workbook is a "consumable." "There shall be no copying from works intended to be 'consumable'...These include workbooks, exercises, standardized tests and test booklets and answer sheets..." (Copyright for Schools, p.54)

    INTERNET QUESTIONS

    Do I need permission to place a link to a website on my website or Moodle?
    Maybe. Look at the website for information. Some site ask that you link only to the homepage and not within the site. Good Netiquette requires that you ask permission or at least notify the site you linking to. In any case be sure that it is clear that the linked site is not yours.

    Can teachers or students reproduce book or movie characters for a display or use on a website?
    No. The characters are copyright protected.

    When children find information on the Web that is generally available in other places, do they still need to cite the source? Citing the source means an extra level of research which can challenge struggling readers.
    Facts are not protected by copyright but a narrative containing facts may involve an element of creativity which is protected by copyright. It is teaching students responsible behavior to require them to tell where they have located their information, even struggling readers. These students may be given a modified bibliography template to cite their sources. (Copyright for Schools, p.22)

    I frequently use Google images for flashcards. What are my rights and responsibilities?
    The doctrine of fair use supports your use of copyrighted materials in direct instruction but no comprehensive guidelines have been issued yet with regard to importing of copyrighted materials into your own work. At the very least you should cite the source of each image you use, and either ask for permission for use from the artist or use different images each year. If you asked students to import their own images, citing each one, to create their own flashcards, you might avoid your own possible infringement on the graphics' creators rights to reproduction. (Copyright Catechism, p.65)

    Students who work on the newspaper want to know: ‘Do we have to cite online sources of text and graphics including blogs? If we do, how and when must we do so?’
    Yes, you must cite anything you get from the Web. A minimum citation would include the title of the Web page (as it appears in the navigator bar, not on the screen), the URL, and the date you accessed the site. This information can be displayed in small print but should be there.

    LAWS AND RULES QUESTIONS

    What are the consequences for breaking copyright rules?
    Actually it is a copyright law, and a federal law at that. There are liability issues on various levels:teachers, technicians, library teachers, and principals. Schools may be sued for real or actual damages, including legal fees. ( Simpson,Carol. Copyright for Schools. p30-33)

    Students want to know: ‘If I change one word in a sentence (use a synonym for a noun or adjective), have I done enough to avoid plagiarism?”
    Not really. Because it is creative expression that is copyrighted, the way the author expresses his ideas counts as much as a specific word. A better plan would be to read the author's ideas and try to understand them. Then close the book or walk away from the website, and try to think how you would explain those ideas to your teacher or parent in your own words: kid language.

    CLASSROOM INSTRUCTION QUESTIONS

    A teacher finds a chart in Newsweek that fits in nicely with a unit to be covered next semester. May the teacher make a class set of the chart?
    No . This does not meet the "spontaneity" requirement of the fair use guidelines for multiple copies for classroom use. In this case, the teacher has enough time to contact Newsweek and request permission to use the chart.

    Can I record or narrate a book or chapter of a book onto a cassette or CD to assist students with reading?
    No. You must purchase the recorded book. Check to see if your school library has the recorded book. More information can be found in Copyright Catechism by Carol Simpson.

    Can I copy pages from a text book for distribution to students? (We have a classroom set but not enough for every student to take home.)
    The fair use guidelines seek to assure that "copying is not a substitute for the purchase of books and periodicals." It might be okay for you to copy less than 10% of the whole textbook for one course for one term, considered an emergency use, until the needed additional textbooks could be ordered. (Copyright for Schools, p. 39; p.57)

    If I have enough readers for all my students but want them to have a copy of the text on which they can take notes and highlight, can I distribute photocopied versions of the actual text?
    Copying of this sort is permitted if certain tests are met. "An instructor may not make more than one copy of the item for each student in the course, and each item copied must be used for classroom use or discussion...and include a notice of copyright. The three tests that each instance of copying must meet are brevity (no more than 10% of the whole), spontaneity (it is the idea of the individual teacher), and cumulative effect (the copying does not substitute for purchasing books and periodicals.) No more than nine instances of such multiple copying can occur for one course during one class term." (Copyright for Schools, p. 56-58)

    Is it okay for teachers to post articles and chapters from books on their web sites using a password protected access, or is doing so like a public performance?
    This practice is akin to public performance, and is a "change of format and wide distribution. The TEACH Act allows you to put audiovisual works in 'reasonable and limited' portions online, but textbooks and readings are excluded." The secure password protected site doesn't erase these issues. If the teachers receives permission from the copyright holder to post readings in this way, then it would be okay. (Copyright Catechism, p. 165; Copyright for Schools, p.20)

    MULTIMEDIA QUESTIONS

    Can I record from television and use it in my class?
    Yes, but . . . it must support the curriculum and the broadcast should support the goal of your lesson plan. You need to check on the "Retention Rights" - each broadcasting channel has its own rules for how long you may keep an off-air copy. Some may be as short as 45 day. For example: PBS allows you to keep a copy for the school year. If the program is re-broadcast you may keep it another year. If it is not re-broadcast, you must erase your copy. At the end of the time period the copy must be destroyed. Check the copyright resources links for more information.

    Can I show a small piece of a movie to my class?
    Yes, but . . . you may show only that portion of the movie. You cannot coy it or reproduce that clip. Verify that Fair Use applies to your use.

    Can I use a video/DVD from Netflix or Blockbuster, etc. in my class?
    Yes, as long as it is for educational purposes and it meets the Fair Use criteria.

    Can I use a video/audio clip from YouTube in my work?
    Youtube.com: "Since all content on YouTube is posted by our users, we make it clear in our terms of use and at the time of upload that they must own the copyright to the videos they post or have permission from the copyright holder. We encourage copyright holders to report any specific infringing videos via the these instructions. User accounts of repeat infringers are automatically terminated."

    Best solution would be to link directly to the YouTube clip.

    Can I use music while my students are working in the classroom?
    It depends. Music may not be used solely for entertainment. However, if the music is directly related to your curriculum and part of your lesson plan you may use the amount granted by Fair Use (up to thirty seconds). Music in the public domain (recorded prior to 1972) may be used.

    Can I use music from a streaming audio site such as Pandora for my class?
    Only if the use of the music directly supports classroom instruction. Otherwise a public performance license is required.

    What multimedia can I include in a PowerPoint?
    If copyrighted material is used in your PowerPoint, the first slide must have this statement:
    "This presentation contains copyrighted material used under the educational Fair Use exemption to U.S. Copyright law."
    The last slide must include a webliography that includes the copyright date and copyright holder for each piece of copyrighted material used. For each graphic or image citation information must be include on the same slide. You may include 30 seconds of music without getting permission. You may use not more than 3 minutes of video without getting permission. Fair Use still needs to apply.
    This PowerPoint may be retained for no more than two years.

    Why do I have to add credit to images for PPTs and brochures?
    Credit must be given because you didn't create the work and thus do not own it.

    "In a multimedia presentation, at the point of insertion of some external, copyright protected work, include a shorthand reference to that item as listed in the complete works cited section." (Simpson, Carol, Copyright for Schools, p. 111)

    Note: When the use of images is for a multimedia project (e.g. a PowerPoint presentation), students are bound by the multimedia fair use guidelines. If images are used in a word-processing document (e.g. a brochure), students are bound by the print guidelines. "The student may use a single copy of a picture (with citation, of course) in a paper under fair use, but the paper must revert to the student. It cant be published or displayed except live in the class for which it was created. The student (more properly the student's parents) can give permission for publication or display to happen to the . student's part of the work, but the student doesn't own the images and hence can't give permission for those to be republished or displayed. Those rights remain with the copyright holder. (Simpson, Carol, Copyright Catechism p. 65)

    WEB 2.0 QUESTIONS

    Podcast reviews: (In answering this question, I assume the podcasts would be on the Web.)
    When posting images to the Web, they are available to the "entire world," and not just to students. The use must be analyzed according to the fair use guidelines. Simpson recommends, "Go to the publisher's Web site. Sometimes they have files there for download, and they grant permission to use them. If you don't find that, I would request permission." (Simpson, Carol, Copyright Catechism, p. 62) Teachers "have the fair use right to make a copy of ONE graphic from a book and retain that graphic for use in teaching. HOWEVER, redistributing that graphic to the world is NOT a fair use right." (Simpson, Carol, Copyright Catechism, p. 75)

    Note: When using book covers from the Internet, you need to cite the artist (the creator) of the book, then the title and publisher, then "available online at: http://.." If you scan the book cover, cite the source you scan from, with the artist as the creator. (Paraphrased from: Simpson, Carol, Copyright Catechism p. 60)

    MORE INFORMATION

    What are some good resources for teaching students about copyright?

    Welcome to the FACE Kids Site : Copyright Kids http://www.copyrightkids.org/
    Includes copyright basics & FAQs, definitions, a copyright challenge quiz & more.
    Copyright with Cyberbee http://www.cyberbee.com/cb_copyright.swf
    Interactive questions and answers about copyright.
    Taking the Mystery Out of Copyright http://www.loc.gov/teachers/copyrightmystery/
    Cartoon featuring Cop E. Wright teaches the basics of copyright law, shows a timeline of copyright milestones, and explains how to register a copyright.

    Sample Copyright scenarios from NPS Copyright Policies factsheet

    A teacher wants to load a computer program on all ten of the computers in the library for a special lesson. Is this permissible?

    No. To load a software program on all 10 computers requires a site license, lab pack arrangement, or permission from the copyright owner.

    A workbook accompanies the textbook adopted for use in a class. May the teacher make class sets of several pages of the workbook?

    No. Copying consumables is prohibited under the fair use guidelines.

    Knowing that graphics help capture attention, a teacher includes an appropriate strip from Zits (a copyrighted comic strip) on an assignment sheet. Is this permissible?

    Not without permission from the comic strip's copyright owner. However, graphics from Print Shop and similar clip art programs that the district has purchased may be used.

    May a teacher show a videotape labeled "home use only" in class?

    Teachers may show videotapes labeled "home use only" in class as long as the video is part of a systematic course of instruction and not for recreational, entertainment, or fundraising purposes. It is important, however, to note that many retail video rental stores have strict license agreements prohibiting use with large, non-home audiences, which includes classrooms. These restrictions may also apply to the use of videos purchased for home use. Staff is expected to review and honor these agreements because they constitute a contract with specific requirements for use of the video.

    The school purchases an instructional program that includes audiocassettes. May a back up copy of the audiocassettes be made?

    No.

    Tonight, ABC is airing a special about World War I. May a teacher request that the show be taped off-the-air for use tomorrow in class? May the history department chairperson request the show be taped off the air in case someone in the department wants to show the special at a later date?

    As per the fair use guidelines, a teacher may request that a program broadcast for reception by the general public be taped off the air for use within the first 10 consecutive school days of the 45-day retention period. The history department chairperson may not request the taping "just in case" someone might want to show it.

    Tonight the History Channel is airing a special about World War I. May a teacher request that the show be taped off the air for use in class later in the week?

    No. The History Channel is a subscription-based channel. It does not broadcast programs for reception by the general public.

    A teacher finds a chart in Newsweek that fits in nicely with a unit to be covered next semester. May the teacher make a class set of the chart?

    No . This does not meet the "spontaneity" requirement of the fair use guidelines for multiple copies for classroom use. In this case, the teacher has enough time to contact Newsweek and request permission to use the chart.

    A teacher wants to enlarge a book cover illustration for bulletin board decoration. May the teacher do so using an opaque projector?

    No. The book cover illustration is copyrighted.