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Copyright and You


Copyright is often the bane of a teacher’s existence. It is at times confusing, arbitrary and capricious- sometimes all three at once.

We understand that.

It is, however, a fact of life and something that we have to deal with in order to follow the law and avoid lawsuits (which we assume you do not enjoy).

Our Goals

This course can be broken down pretty simply. What we want to do is break copyright down to the basics so it’s easy for you to understand and give you easy ways to follow copyright that doesn’t result in more work. We’d also like to help you be better prepared to model copyright behavior for your students and advise them correctly when they have copyright questions.

So let’s start with some rules you can apply to all media right now.

You can always use
  • Anything in the Public Domain
  • Work ends up in the Public Domain when the copyright expires or it is directly released to the public.
  • Anything with a Creative Commons (A new form of copyright that gives authors and users better options.) license
  • Anything you make
You can probably use-
  • Material that meets the criteria of fair use (you could definitely use it if you were right in your judgment but I’m not sure I trust you)
You can never use -
  • This is when you go back to the criteria for fair use. There are no absolutes in copyright.

Now, I’d like for that to be all you need to know but there’s no way you’re getting off that easily. There will be different pages for different categories of material because there are different rules for different types of media. Each page will have a green, yellow and red box of things you can, might and can never do.

We’ll also be providing excellent resources along the way that you can use to find great images, sounds and music without having to be concerned with typical copyright restraints.

Image source: JPDaigle, CC license
Content Source HCPS Copyright

Bibliography Page for the Copyright Site