Copyright Compliance

  • The district recognizes that federal law makes it illegal to duplicate copyrighted materials without authorization of the copyright holder, except for certain exempt purposes.

    Under the Copyright Act of 1976, the basis of U.S. copyright law, copyright is automatic when an original work is first "fixed" in a tangible medium of expression. That means material is protected by copyright at the point when it is first printed, captured on film, drawn, or saved to hard drive or disk.

    District 15 staff may make copies of copyrighted school district materials that fall within the following guidelines. Staff members who fail to follow this procedure may be held personally liable for copyright infringement.

    Authorized Reproduction and Use of Copyrighted Material in Books and Periodicals under the Fair Use Doctrine (section 107 of the Copyright Act)

    1. Single Copying for Teachers—a single copy may be made of any of the following by or for a teacher at his or her individual request for use in teaching or preparation to teach a class:
      1. Chapter from a book;
      2. An article from a periodical or newspaper;
      3. A short story, short essay or short poem, whether or not from a collective work;
      4. A chart, graph, diagram, drawing, cartoon or picture from a book, periodical, or newspaper.
    2. Multiple Copies for Classroom Use—multiple copies (not to exceed in any event more than one copy per pupil in a course) may be made for classroom use or discussion provided that:
      1. The copying meets the test of brevity and spontaneity as defined below;
      2. Meets the cumulative effect test as defined below; and
      3. Each copy includes a notice of copyright.

    A. Brevity

    1. A complete poem, if less than 250 words and if printed on not more than two pages, may be copied; excerpts from longer poems cannot exceed 250 words;
    2. Complete articles, stories or essays of less than 2,500 words may be copied. Excerpts from prose works of not more than 1,000 words or 10 percent of the work—whichever is smaller—may be copied, but in any event, a minimum of 500 words may be copied.
    3. Each numerical limit set forth above may be expanded to permit the completion of an unfinished line of a poem or an unfinished prose paragraph.
    4. One chart, graph, diagram, drawing, cartoon, or picture per book or periodical issued may be copied.
    5. "Special" works cannot be reproduced in full under any circumstances; however, an excerpt of not more than two published pages containing not more than 10 percent of the words in the text of such special work may be reproduced. What constitutes a special work is not clearly defined; however, special works include children's books combining poetry, prose, or poetic prose with illustrations and which are less than 2,500 words in their entirety.

    B. Spontaneity
    Copying should be at the "instance and inspiration" of the individual teacher; and the inspiration and decision to use the work and the moment of its use for maximum teaching effectiveness are so close in time that it would be unreasonable to expect a timely reply to a request for permission.

    C. Cumulative Effect
    Teachers are limited to using copied material for only one course in the school in which copies are made. No more than one short poem, article, story, essay, or two excerpts from the same author may be copied, and no more than three works or excerpts can be copied from a collective work or periodical volume during one class term. Teachers are limited to nine instances of multiple copying for one course during one class term. The numerical limitations set forth above do not apply to current news periodicals, newspapers, and current news sections of other periodicals.

    Performances by teachers or students of copyrighted dramatic works without authorization from the copyright owner are permitted as part of a teaching activity in a classroom or instructional setting. All other performances require permission from the copyright owner.

    Notwithstanding any of the foregoing, the copyright law prohibits using copies to create, replace, or substitute for anthologies, compilations, or collective works. There shall be no copying of or from works intended to be "consumable" in the course of study or of teaching. Consumable works include: workbooks, exercises, standardized tests, test booklets, and answer sheets. Teachers cannot substitute copies for the purchase of books, publishers' reprints or periodicals, nor can they repeatedly copy the same item from term to term. Copying cannot be directed by a "higher authority," and students cannot be charged more than actual cost of photocopying.

    Teachers may use copyrighted material in overhead or opaque projectors for instructional purposes.

    Photos and Graphics
    Photos and computer graphics have copyright protection, just as any other publications do. Sometimes writers borrow a photograph or computer graphic without remembering that a tangible, reproducible image merits the same copyright protection as words. This same guidance applies, for example, to your favorite newspaper cartoon. A one-time use of the cartoon for educational purposes would probably fall under fair use, but ongoing use would not. As with any copyrighted material, using a cartoon requires you to contact the cartoonist or a publisher for permission, which is usually granted after payment of a one-time fee or a royalty fee for each copy made.

    Obtain Permission
    Under copyright law, you must obtain permission from the author(s). Often, you will pay a fee if you choose to use copyrighted material in something you wish to publish for profit. If you obtain permission from the author(s) to reproduce copy, you should retain the written permission. In your own work, you should identify the author and the holder of copyright and include a note such as the following: Reprinted by permission of (the name of the author or publisher).

    How to Obtain Permission
    When a proposed use of copied material requires a staff member to request permission, communication of complete and accurate information to the copyright owner will facilitate the request. The Association of American Publishers suggest that the following information be included to expedite the process.

    1. title, author, and/or editor, and edition of materials to be duplicated;
    2. exact material to be used, giving amount, page numbers, chapters, and if possible, a photocopy of the materials;
    3. number of copies to be made;
    4. use to be made of duplicated materials;
    5. form of distribution (classroom, newsletter, etc.);
    6. whether or not the materials is to be sold; and
    7. type of reprint (ditto, photocopy, offset, typeset).

    The request should be sent, together with a self-addressed return envelope, to the permissions department of the publisher in question. If the address of the publisher does not appear at the front of the material, it may be obtained from The Literacy Marketplace (for books) or Ulrich's International Periodicals (for journals). For purposes of proof, and to define the scope of the permission, it is important that the permission be in writing.

    The process of considering permission requests require time for the publisher to check the status and ownership of rights and related matters, and to evaluate the request. It is advisable, therefore, to allow sufficient lead time. In some instances, the publisher may assess a fee for permission.

    The following is a sample letter to a copyright owner (usually a publisher) requesting permission to copy. (A facsimile permission, signed or originated by the appropriate authorized person, or an e-mail response from the appropriate authorized person may be substituted for a conventionally mailed letter.)

    Material Permissions Department
    Hypothetical Book Company
    500 East Avenue
    Chicago, IL 60601

    Dear Sir/Madam:

    I would like permission to copy the following for use in my class next semester:

    Title: Knowledge is Good, Second Edition
    Copyright: Hypothetical Book Co., 1965, 1971.
    Author: Frances Jones.
    Material to be duplicated: Chapter 10 (photocopy enclosed)
    Number of copies: 50
    Distribution: The material will be distributed to students in my class.
    Type of reprint: Photocopy
    Use: The chapter will be used as supplementary teaching materials.

    I have enclosed a self-addressed, stamped envelope for your convenience in replying to this request.

    Staff Member