This is the "Getting Started" page of the "Copyright Law for Educators" guide.
Alternate Page for Screenreader Users
Skip to Page Navigation
Skip to Page Content

Copyright Law for Educators   Tags: copyright, copyright_educators, copyright_law  

This guide should help you with the do's and don'ts of copyright law as it pertains to teachers and educational use.
Last Updated: Feb 8, 2010 URL: Print Guide RSS Updates

Getting Started Print Page


This Library Guide to copyright information provides practical information and guidance in handling the copyright issues confronting educators every day.

There are few, if any, reliable rules for educational uses of copyrighted material; the very nature of fair use precludes such precision.  Indeed, it only gets more difficult to make confident decisions about proper use of copyrighted material as media and technology continue to evolve.

This guide does not supply legal advice nor is it intended to replace the advice of legal counsel.


Making Sense of all this!

"Only one thing is impossible for God: To find any sense in any copyright law on the planet."    Mark Twain

Copyright law evokes any number of adjectives from those attempting to understand and/or apply it.  Many of those adjectives are negative due to the pervasive sense that copyright is primarily a set of rules to prevent faculty and students from using the materials that they need for their classes.  Few view copyright as an opportunity to accomplish their goals lawfully.

However, the negative, always-get-permission view leads nowhere fast.  You simply do not have the money or the time to always search out the copyright holder and pay permission fees for each piece of the enormous amounts of scholarly materials essential for excellent teaching and research.  Even Congress recognized that such an approach wouldn't work and, therefore, established the educational exceptions and fair use in the copyright act. They could see the obvious: that a robust educational system was not only good for the U.S. economy but also the best way to advance the primary purpose of copyright, which is stated expressly in the Constitution. Article I, section 8, clause 8.  It provides that Congress shall have the power: "to promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts, by securing for limited times to Authors and Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries."  "It is the only clause in the grant of powers to Congress that has a stated purpose." ( Quoted from a very interesting article, "The Purpose of Copyright" by Lydia Pallas Loren, Associate Professor of Law, Northwestern School of Law, Open Spaces Quarterly, 2008)

What CAN you lawfully do other than get permissions?  This site will hopefully help you identify those things. 


 Copyright 2008 Peggy Hoon (NCS)


Educational Technology Trainer

Profile Image
Laura Sears
Contact Info
Educational Technology
Mesa Public Schools

Loading  Loading...