in the Classroom: Copyright Information
A Guide to Writing Online:
Copyright and Fair Use
and Fair Use - Stanford University Libraries
Course in Copyright
Discussion of Copyright Issues Relevant to Digital Images
Educational Fair Use Guidelines put forth by the United States
Government, it is possible for educators to use copyrighted images
in their educational multimedia projects without paying royalties
or obtaining permission from the copyright holders. Many restrictions
are imposed on the use of such images and these will be discussed
in the next section.
you will be browsing the web and come across an image you would
like to use in your classroom. The procedure for saving the graphic
to your disk is pretty uniform and is quite similar in both Netscape
and Internet Explorer.
cursor over the image you want. Right click (on the Mac, hold
the mouse button down) on the image and choose "Save Picture
As" (Internet Explorer) or "Save Image As" (Netscape).
Be sure to keep the same extension of the image when you save,
although you may change the name. Netscape provides a handy feature
that allows you to preview the image you are saving as many web
sites cut up images into pieces to facilitate faster load times.
Simply right click (PC) or hold down the mouse button (Macintosh)
and select "View Image."
is a legal concept that is essential to the free enterprise system
of the United States. Essentially, it gives an individual total
exclusive rights of a work they have created. Copyright protects
expression in tangible form. The work must be creative and expressive
in nature. That is, simple facts and ideas cannot be protected
by copyright law.
an idea for a great movie scene is not protected by copyright;
however, the scene recorded on film -- or even if it is only sketched
on a storyboard -- is protected by copyright law.
"exists" the moment an author places something original
into tangible form. For example, this entire web page was copyrighted
the moment it was saved to disk. Technically, if I discovered
someone using portions of this web site without my permission,
it would be within my right (although probably not practical)
to file suit against them.
educators have been able to operate under exemptions of copyright
law, termed "Fair Use," in order to use copyrighted
materials without permission in their classrooms for teaching.
With the advent of the digital age, the legal principle of Educational
Fair Use has become quite complicated. The chief problematic area
is that items placed on the web have the potential to be accessed
by people outside the traditional classroom, even though the web
page is intended solely for use in a specific class.
In order for
an educator to claim exemption from U.S. Copyright Law under the
Educational Fair Use Guidelines, the following must be true of
the work you are using:
- You must
not have permission for use by the copyright owner.
- You are
using only a portion of the work (except photographs).
- The work
must be lawfully acquired.
- You intend
to use the work in an educational multimedia project.
- This project
will be created by you or your students.
- This project
must be part of a systematic learning activity.
- You are
using the work under the purview of a nonprofit educational
also spell out how much of a work you may use. For example, you
may only use up to five photographs from a single artist. Guidelines
also exist for how long you can use the works. Typically, you
may use the works for no more than two years. Anything beyond
that and you must obtain permission from the copyright holder.
In Fair Use
copyright suits the courts typically use these four factors to
evaluate whether indeed the educator's use of the works is valid:
- What is
the purpose of the work in question? Is it nonprofit or commercial?
- What is
the nature of the work? Does the accused infringer use it for
something that the creator did not intend?
- What is
the amount and substantiality of the work being used? Did you
scan just one photograph or put the entire artist's collection
on the potential market for the copyrighted work does the action
have? They key word here is potential. Even if the owner is not
currently making money off the work, what effect would your actions
have if he or she went commercial with the work?
information on copyright and educational fair use, see the following
Myths about Copyright Explained
guidelines about multimedia materials and Web pages, J. Dianne
Brinson and Mark F. Radcliffe have authored
Intellectual Property Law Primer for Multimedia and Web Developers
site also covers some myths about copyright infringement as it
pertains to multimedia development as well as some special myths
about the Internet.
on Fair Use: An Interim Report to the Commissioner
provides some of the latest information concerning how guidelines
for fair use of copyrighted works by educators and librarians
are being developed and lists the proposed guidelines for educational
fair use for digital images, distance learning, and educational
multimedia. However, this information may be difficult to read
and even more difficult to interpret.
Copyright Office Home Page