Day 13 Remaining in my summer! Be Copyright Compliant!

Copyright Symbol from

For each of the days of August I will share some simple ideas you can use in your classroom. Try them before school begins so you have time to explore all of the ways you can integrate these skills into early lessons.

Although this does not require a project for students, knowledge of copyright infringement is important for everyone. Today’s teen does not see a problem with creating a music mix CD of songs they have in their iTunes account and giving them to friends. Actually most people think that if they own the music they can remix or burn it and give it away. That is not the case and is a violation of copyright law.

Showing a video you rent without the proper license is highly illegal too. As teachers we need to know what is legal and what is not. We must teach our students in every class about proper use and citations of information. This is not a job just for the language arts teachers, it is the responsibility of al teachers. Model proper behavior and cite your sources for anything you use or put up on the board in your classroom. In any presentation, have a citation page at the end so students see you have done the proper thing with citing your work.

A few tips her will help you stay compliant:
  1. Cite EVERYTHING you use, including text, facts, photos, images, video and music.
  2. Print this chart and post in your classroom (yes it is allowed!);
  3. Share what you learn with your students and the teacher next to you.
  4. To show a video you rent legally, option a license from this site: This will cover your school 24/7 or any video performance. The license is for a school.
  5. This is from Robert Byrne’s blog, “Free Tech 4 Teachers” at  It is a review of the site Copyright on Campus and is worth your review.  Notwithstanding the provisions of sections 106 and 106A, the fair use of a copyrighted work, including such use by reproduction in copies or phonorecords or by any other means specified by that section, for purposes such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching (including multiple copies for classroom use), scholarship, or research, is not an infringement of copyright. In determining whether the use made of a work in any particular case is a fair use the factors to be considered shall include—

    (1) the purpose and character of the use, including whether such use is of a commercial nature or is for nonprofit educational purposes; 
    (2) the nature of the copyrighted work; 
    (3) the amount and substantiality of the portion used in relation to the copyrighted work as a whole; and 
    (4) the effect of the use upon the potential market for or value of the copyrighted work. 

    The fact that a work is unpublished shall not itself bar a finding of fair use if such finding is made upon consideration of all the above factors.

Resources to review:
  1. The Media Education Lab – from the University of Rhode Island has curriculum resources for K-12.
  2. This presentation was created by Wed Fryer and offers many good suggestions for teachers:
  3. I have collected over 60 sites which contain information about Fair Use, copyright, intellectual property and more.
  4. A very cute video that follows copyright law by using Disney fairy tales:
  5. Creative Commons License – to protect your own intellectual property, read this site!
  6. Don’t forget all of the great resources you can find in DiscoveryEducation library as well. But remember they are exclusive to subscribers to DE services and may not be redistributed.

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