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Copyright, Fair Use and Creative Commons

Educational Fair Use

The guidelines for Educational Fair use are not part of the Federal Copyright Act but are recognized by the courts and the Copyright Office as minimum standards for use in education.  They range from specific to vague so again, when in doubt, consult legal counsel.

An educational institution is defined as a K-12 school, college or university, museums, libraries and hospitals or any non-profit, non-commercial educational institution.  Fair Use can also apply  to a study or investigation contributing to a field of knowledge or a presentation at a non-profit  peer conference.

Classroom copying rules:

  • Material cannot be used to replace texts

  • Pupils cannot be charged more than the actual copying cost

  • No more than 1 copy per student

  • Each copy must include the notice of copyright

Copying amounts:

  • No more than 10% of a book

  • No more than 1 short poem, article, essay or story or 2 excerpts are permitted from the same author

  • No more than 3 pieces from the same collective work or periodical volume during 1 class term

  • Only 9 instances of copying are allowed per course during 1 school term

  • Workbooks, standardized texts or answer sheets may not be copied-copies must not replace or substitute the purchase of books or test sheets

Rules for reproducing music:

  • No more than 10% of the whole work and only 1 per student

  • Students may make 1 copy of a copyrighted performance for evaluative or rehearsal purposes; instructors may keep a copy

  • A single copy of a copyrighted sound recording owned by an educational institution may be made for aural exams; instructors may keep a copy

Instructors may not:

  • Copy sheet or recorded music to create a compilation for class use

  • Copy from consumable materials like workbooks or answer sheets

  • Copy sheet or recorded music for performance purposes except in emergency situations to replace purchased copies

  • Copy any materials without including the copyright notice