Copyright is something that technology has made it harder than it used to be. By having access to loads of information and pictures, we can forget all about copyright and what it means. One way we can protect ourselves when it comes to copyright is that the facts and information that we gain from books and internet are not protected by copyright but how the author has phrased the information is. That’s why we always keep in mind that old saying, “put things into your own words”. Second note is that keeping in mind that there is not always a notice of copyright and we should just assume that anything created is protected by copyright. Thirdly, anything created in the United States before 1923 in considered public domain and is not protected by copyright but anything created after that year through the life of the author plus 70 years is still protected by copyright. Lastly is fair use in schools, as a teacher if you can defend that what you are using is for an educational purpose than it’s exempted from copyright. The same goes for a part or whole of the material is use.
There are four test that you can use to determine fair use. Most materials that are copyrighted have known guidelines that you follow but not everything. Test one is the purpose and character of the use, ask yourself: is the material going to be used in a nonprofit educational institution in a non-commercially way? The second test is thinking about if the works are publish or not and if they’re factual or creative. Unpublished and creative works have strong copyrights than those who are published or factual. Third is how much of the work are you going use? The less you use the more fair use it is. Lastly, if you are using the material for a way to raise money, even if for a good cause, you are using it for commercial intent and harm will assume.
Aside from understanding what copyright is and what we can do to protect ourselves from it, we make sure we understand that every form of material has different guidelines in how to use it. Such as print material, teachers can retain one copy of it for personal and teaching use, you can make copies to give to students but only once not year to year or term to term. Audio and videotapes must be owned by the school, teacher, parent, borrowed from a library, rented from a video store or taped off-air. There are many others, as teachers we need to be able to understand these guidelines and follow them and teach them to our students.