Informational purposes only and is not legal advice.

Is it important that a teacher understand copyright? YES!

Copyright Law

According to U.S. Copyright Office, copyright is "a form of protection grounded in the U.S. Constitution and granted by law for original works of authorship fixed in a tangible medium of expression. Copyright covers both published and unpublished works."

The 6 rights owned by a copyright holder:


The four factors to consider are:

  1. the purpose and character; including whether it is to be used for commercial or nonprofit educational purposes;
  2. the nature of the copyrighted work;
  3. the amount and portion used in relation to the copyrighted work as a whole;
  4. the effect; including whether this use would influence the potential market for or value of the copyrighted work

Tough Questions & Answers

Is it legal to create a packet of teaching materials which contain articles and workbook pages?

* No! You must have permission of the copyright holder.

Can I email articles to my students?

* No! This may be deemed distribution and that is the right of the copyright holder. It is best that you provide the link to your students so they can read the article.

Can I show the movie, "King and I" to my class for their outstanding behavior? I own the movie.

* No! The showing of a personal video as a reward is not protected under fair use unless the students are doing something educational relevant with it.

Can I add a piece of music to a video that I was going to share at a presentation?

* No! You can add 30 sec of a piece of modern music but you may not play it all the way through since this violates copyright to the musical artist. There is music available that can be used without fear of copyright.