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Copyright sites for teachers and students.

With the greatly expanded opportunities for instruction, research, and publishing offered by the World Wide Web, teachers often find themselves challenged by legal and ethical questions concerning the use of copyrighted material in the classroom. "Do I need to get permission to use an image off the Web in a PowerPoint presentation?" "Can I use a picture if it doesn't have the copyright symbol on it?" "Can I post images of works of art on the Web for students to study?" Answers to these and other important copyright questions are not always easy to come by. They require gaining a clear understanding of copyright law in order to make informed decisions about what you and your students are allowed to do in the classroom with original content created by others.

Copyright has been a hot topic on the Internet for years and, consequently, there is a plethora of Web sites containing reliable and useful information about copyright matters, many written specifically for teachers and students. At the U.S. Copyright Office Web site (, for example, you can find lots of basic copyright information including the copyright clause of the U.S. Constitution that provides Congress with the authority to enact copyright laws. While there, I recommend downloading a copy of "Reproduction of Copyrighted Works by Educators and Librarians" (found under Publications>Circulars and Brochures), which offers guidelines on what you may copy as a teacher.

Another informative site is Benedict O'Mahoney's Copyright Website (, which includes many great examples of court cases involving copyright issues that you might use as discussion starters with students. The site also provides information on how to create your own copyright notice, registering your works with the U.S. Copyright office, how long a copyright lasts, works in the public domain, and the Fair Use provision of copyright law that considers four factors in determining whether a given use of copyrighted material falls under Fair Use protection.

Two additional sites that include helpful copyright information for educators are the University of Texas' Crash Course in Copyright ( and The Copyright Site (www. Both of these sites offer helpful information for guiding teachers and students in using copyrighted material in the classroom.

Teach Students about Copyright

Besides abiding by the law and modeling respect for the intellectual property of others in the classroom, teachers also need to educate their students about the importance and requirements of copyright law. This is especially vital if your students use the Web as a research or publishing tool. Students should know that copyright law applies to material published online, just as it does elsewhere. Thus, they need to be careful about publishing images or other content online that they did not create themselves, to get permission when necessary, and to provide proper citations for anything they use in their research reports or Web sites that was created or written by someone else.

While teaching your students about copyright may seem a formidable challenge, there are several helpful Web sites designed to assist in the task, including Copyright Kids (, and Copyright with CyberBee ( html). Both of these sites can be incorporated into classroom lessons or used as stand-alone resources that students can browse on their own to learn the basics of copyright law.

Craig Roland is an associate professor of art education in the School of Art and Art History at the University of Florida in Gainesville, Florida. He is the author of The Art Teacher's Guide to the Internet (Davis Publications, 2005). rolandc@ufl. edu
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Title Annotation:All Levels: ArtEd Online
Author:Roland, Craig
Publication:School Arts
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Apr 1, 2006
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