Copyright and Copy Wrong

Listed are a few basic copyright laws you should be familiar with when teaching, plus how to find more information on the subject.
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Copyright and Copy Wrong

Fire Alarm

To be sure you're in compliance with the most current copyright laws, please log on to the U.S. Copyright Office at website at

You can use lots of printed and nonprint resources in your classroom. Because many of these materials are protected by copyright laws, your school or district may have policies in place to ensure that everyone is in compliance with current copyright laws. When copying any material, it's important that the reproduction is allowed under the category of “permitted use.”

Because of space, I'm not able to provide all the legal guidelines, so please check current laws as well as the guidelines used by your school. Following are some copyright do's and don'ts (from section 107 of the 1976 Omnibus Copyright Revision Act).

You may …

  • Make single copies of a chapter of a book; an article from a periodical, magazine, or newspaper; a short story; a short essay; a short poem, whether or not from a collected work; or a chart, graph, diagram, drawing, cartoon, or an illustration from a book, magazine, or newspaper.

  • Make multiple copies for classroom use (not to exceed one copy per student in a course) of a complete poem if less than 250 words; an excerpt from a longer poem, but not to exceed 250 words; a complete article, story, or essay of less than 2,500 words; an excerpt from a larger printed work not to exceed 10 percent of the whole or 1,000 words; or one chart, graph, diagram, cartoon, or picture per book or magazine issue.

You may not …

  • Copy more than one work or two excerpts from a single author during one class term.

  • Copy more than three works from a collective work or periodical volume during one class term.

  • Reproduce more than nine sets of multiple copies for distribution to students in one class term.

  • Copy to create or replace or substitute for anthologies of collective works.

  • Copy “consumable” works, e.g. workbooks, standardized tests, or answer sheets.

  • Copy the same work from term to term.

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