With all of the new technology available to use today, it is more important than ever to be familiar with copyright laws and what is and isn’t legal to use. In the classroom, there are many tools that teachers take advantage of, but great care must be taken to ensure that the information being used is legal.
First off, many people might ask what is copyright exactly? Copyright is the authors right to their work. No matter where it is, things that are original from the author or even facts put into their own words, can all be copyrighted. However, teachers do have some exceptions from copyright. There are four tests for fair use that teachers can use as a tool. These four tests include the intended use for the work and the kind of material that is being used, for example, a work that is also in print versus a web page. This reason is because works that have not been published often have more protection when it comes to copyright. The amount of work being used also makes a difference. If a small part of a work is used it is more likely to be considered in fair use than simply copying/pasting an entire work. The last test to consider is the effect that using this work would have on its value. For example, the number of people who used or saw by the work that was not purchased might have an effect on earnings for the author.
While all of these tests are important when determining fair use, there are different rules for different forms of media used. For example, materials that are printed can have one copy, or one copy per student if there was not enough time to get permission. Any more used than that would need further authorization. Audiotapes and videotapes also have rules that must be followed. For example, they can be used if it has to do with teaching the lesson, but not for entertainment purposes. When it comes to web pages, links can be used, but the web page itself cannot be taken and changed to use as your own. There are many other rules based on the type of media. If you are planning on using some form of technology, it is always best to check and make sure it is okay to use. It is very important to know what type of medium is being used and know the rules for the use of each form so you can stay within the copyright rules.