In this webinar bonus, presenter Erin Ryan answers the audience questions that were asked during "'Is That Fair Use?': Copyright in Schools, Conferences, and Publications."
Hi, Alice! First off, if the book was published prior to 1924, or if it is out of copyright, then yes, you can do that. Otherwise, unfortunately, sharing a PDF of an entire book wouldn't qualify as a fair use. Per Factor 1, while your use is educational, it isn't transformative—you'd just be reproducing the text as-is. Factor 3, which looks at the amount of material being used, would also disqualify this use as fair, as you're reproducing an entire book. Most importantly in this case, your PDF would take away potential income from the original creator of the material (that's Factor 4). The TEACH Act also prohibits this sort of thing, saying that if texts are available for students to purchase, then they should purchase them. Or, of course, check the book out of the library.
Unfortunately, same answer as above. This is about making a full book available for free when a student could be purchasing the book and adding to the author's royalties/the book's overall profit. Of course, I completely understand the desire to make texts as available as possible! But in this case, the best you can do is direct the student to a library resource.
Oh, this is a GREAT question! In this case, I would suggest checking to see if eBook versions of the text are available for purchase. If they are not, then I'd highly recommend contacting the publisher/copyright holder. We're in unprecedented times, so it's possible that the publisher would agree to this sort of arrangement. The publisher might even have a pdf of the text on file. It never hurts to ask!
Most copyrighted items follow the rules of the country in which the work was first published, so I advise checking the individual copyright website for the country of origin. If a work was published in the United States, then the copyright term follows US terms, the life of the author+70 years. That said, we do have some international agreements in place that work to standardize copyright terms! For example, the Berne Convention stipulated that copyright begins when a work is created, and extends "at least 50 years" after the death of the author. Countries such as the United States and England, among many others, have extended that protection an extra 20 years. In Mexico, copyright extends 100 years after the death of the author. As these terms can vary, it's wise to check on a case-by-case basis.
Absolutely! Let me send you right to the source: https://www.copyright.com/. On the upper-right portion of the screen, you'll see a "Get Permissions" search box. Just type in the title you're hoping to license from, and the Copyright Clearance Center will walk you through the process from there, for reprinting in commercial books, educational course packets, promotional materials, and more.
Hi, Bel! It sounds like this situation might be out of your control. it's the students' responsibility to bring the purchased version of their book rather than using what might be an unauthorized, uploaded chapter. In addition, the TEACH Act is very clear that any text copies need to come from an authorized version. On your end, I'd remind the students (and I'm sure you've already done this) that it's their responsibility to bring their physical books to class, and that you don't endorse their use of unauthorized copies. In this sense, you're covered. Hopefully, that will further encourage students to bring the books that they purchased.
In this case, I'd recommend contacting the author and asking for permission to produce class PDFs and distribute the story to students. Your intended use seems close to meeting fair use parameters, but in using the entirety of the short story, it would be best to get permission from the rightsholder.
Hi, Rosalyn! This is very similar to Alice's question above, which leads me to believe that it's a prevalent issue. I'm not sure that we have an all-encompassing yes or no, unfortunately. Copyright holders (likely the publisher, for a novel) hold the rights to their work, and we have to be careful about how we chose to transfer their content to new mediums. My advice would be to contact the publisher directly, describe the situation, and ask if the publisher can make a digital PDF available. It never hurts to ask, and many publishers are doing what they can to help educators during this extended period of distance learning in the pandemic.
Hi Kari! It depends what you mean by "uncopyrighted work." Just because a text is online without a copyright page doesn't mean that it isn't protected under copyright. As soon as an author creates a work, that work has legal copyright protection. If the book online was posted by the author (and therefore, self-published in electronic format), then you'd want to ask that author for permission to reuse the text. If a third-party website simply has an electronic version of a book...well, that can get sticky quickly. You don't want to use an unauthorized version of the text, and you also don't want to use an authorized version without permission. When in doubt, always ask for permission.
Hi Lisa! It depends on the copyright status of the photo or song lyrics, and also depends on your intended use. If the visual content was originally published prior to January 1, 1924, then it is likely public domain and free to reuse. However, if the image or lyrics are still under copyright, then you likely need permission. It all depends how the material in question was originally licensed. Some images have those Creative Commons licenses attached, many of which allow for non-profit, educational use. You might also be able to make a claim for fair use if you use an image in an educational setting only, if it's part of a classroom assignment and accompanied by new insights, commentary, or criticism. Song lyrics can be tricky, as songs themselves are rather short, so it's very hard to claim fair use (since quoting anything beyond a line or two could be seen as using too much of the overall song lyrics). Unless they lyrics are solidly within the public domain, I'd use them very sparingly.
Hi Suzi! If the image in question comes from the original author/illustrator's website, then you can consider it an authorized image and ask them for permission to make the reproducibles. If you're referring to licensed characters (like some of my favorites: Elephant and Piggie!), then you'll want to make sure that the images you're using are authorized. Check out the first question/answer on Mo Willems' FAQ page for a good explanation of why we should steer clear of illegally-made reproductions of famous children's book characters: http://mowillemsfaq.blogspot.com/. Speaking of Mo Willems...take a look at all of the resources he's made available for teachers: http://pigeonpresents.com/get-busy/. Many children's book authors provide access to free coloring pages and teaching resources, with students and educators in mind. If an author or illustrator holds the rights to their work and has released authorized coloring pages on their website, then those can absolutely be used for non-commercial, educational projects.
Hi James! Unless you own the rights to the performances, then you can't post that content on YouTube. The TEACH Act allows for small portions of dramatic material to be shared with a virtual classroom, but it has to be under very password-protected, closed-setting circumstances. YouTube is too publicly accessible.
Hi, Robin! In-person read-alouds are often considered a fair, educational use under copyright law as long as the purpose of the read aloud is educational in nature (like improving student fluency, meeting curricular comprehension goals, or modelling potential curriculum to other educators). The use you describe below seems similar, as long as the reading is a one-time occurrence and the posting is both for a limited time, and on a secure server that only specific educators or students can access. As long as your sources are well-cited, and your aims match those listed above, then your use is likely a fair one. In addition, I'm fairly certain that a number of publishers have opened their permissions agreements when it comes to read alouds...as evidenced by the next question and answer below!
@Kathryn and @Mary SLJ has a list of publishers who have extended their read aloud permissions, which they update here: https://docs.google.com/document/d/113E-0ffElTRoI7zsvk6gjxrAgepeD-JGAD55-ftSfrc/edit#
Hi, Carla! First, you'd want to check your Audible user agreement. It's very possible that, like streaming video services, the user agreement prohibits broadcasting a podcast outside of your personal, private use. That said, you could always go directly to the source of the podcast and ask for permission to share the original recording with your class.
Hi, Charles and Arlene! Creative Commons also has its own image search: https://search.creativecommons.org/. This allows users to search by license type, so you can ensure that content fits your intended use.
Hi, Lynne! Unfortunately, out of print does not equate to out of copyright. If the book was published after January 1, 1924, then your teacher will need permission from the rights holder (either the publisher or the author, if rights reverted) before proceeding. The rights holder could easily say yes, given that the book is out of print and the use is educational. Best of luck!
Hi, Kari! You cannot stream video content from a personal Netflix, Amazon Prime, Hulu, etc. subscription account. I don't believe that Netflix offers accounts specifically for educators or school districts at this time (it would be great if they did!), but you can check out those free Netflix documentaries via the YouTube link on the resources page!
Hi, Rheetha and Kari! I'd reach out to Swank to see if they would extend the regular license, at least during this time of heightened distance learning.
Hi, Cd! Yes, the copyright act does allow teachers to show film content to students in both face-to-face classroom settings and protected online settings. However, this allowance comes with restrictions and limitations, especially in virtual settings. For example, the movie being shown should tie to specific class lessons, and accompanied by facilitated discussion.
Hi, Katy! That site is likely doing something illegal. As we want to model best practices, I would strongly discourage students from accessing novels through a site posting content illegally. This deprives authors of their well-deserved royalties, and is absolutely a copyright infringement. You could always show the student how one reports these sorts of infringements! Instructions are available on almost every publisher's webpage :)
Hi, Karla! My understanding of copyright law is that librarians can not convert VHS tapes to DVDs unless the VHS content is completely unavailable in DVD or digital format. A DVD or digital recording is technically a new product for a new market, which means that this sort of conversion would run afoul of fair use.
Hi, Jenny! If the video was truly uploaded by the owner of the video, and the Creative Commons license carries a public domain designation or the ability to freely reuse and adapt content, then yes, the student could reuse that content. However, this comes with a big caveat. Your student would need to be absolutely certain that the content on YouTube belongs to the person who uploaded it and licensed it. YouTube is, unfortunately, awash with individuals who upload content that does not belong to them. If this music video depicts famous individuals or the like, I'd bet that it isn't actually copyright-free. I'd vet the material yourself before the student moves forward!
Hi, Jeannine! Using an entire poem or short story that is still under copyright would require permission. Fair use doesn't readily apply when you're using an entire work, and while these items are part of a compilation, you're using the specific text in its entirety.
Hi, Cheri! Uploading large portions of the book digitally would technically work against fair use, even in an educational setting. However, I'd recommend contacting the publisher/rightsholder and asking about this proposed use! You never know, given the circumstances, they might make an allowance for this sort of use.
Hi, Michelle! A viewer above posted this link to the SLJ's list of publishers who have extended their read aloud permissions: https://docs.google.com/document/d/113E-0ffElTRoI7zsvk6gjxrAgepeD-JGAD55-ftSfrc/edit#. If the google site is limited to a specific group of users, then you may be ok. But if in doubt after reviewing this list of publishers, then I recommend asking the rightsholder!
Hi, Pamela! I'd hesitate to convert a print book to a digital format without permission from the publisher. That said, the read aloud itself should be covered under fair use and those extended read aloud permissions.
Hi, Tammy! Unfortunately, scanning a sharing a single book to be shared with multiple students would not be considered a fair use. Most importantly, this practice would deprive the copyright holder/author from royalties they might make from each student in a class purchasing a book, or from a school district purchasing a title for each student.
Hi, Ryan! Yes, providing links to websites is safe in that you won't be in violation of copyright.
Hi, Cd! As long as the teacher is using the DVD as outlined in the TEACH act (tied to curriculum and instructor-facilitated discussion, etc,) , then yes, she can show necessary potions of the documentary to the class. The teacher can't stream a video from her Amazon Prime account, but she can rent or purchase the digital version of the documentary and share that within a secure physical or virtual classroom setting.
Hi, Alisa! This is a tricky one! The school itself typically holds copyright to the text of school newspapers and yearbooks, but the images are a different story. If you had an adult or student taking photos for the school newspapers, but don't have a specific work-for-hire agreement, then the photographer technically holds the rights to the images. You'd need to ask for permission to scan/digitize/store the images in the newspapers. Similarly, the school photographer holds the rights to the school portrait images...unless a work-for-hire agreement was signed with the school. First, check the agreement. If it is work-for-hire, you should be fine digitizing behind a secure server. If it isn't, then you'll need permission from the photographer first.
Hi, Meg! Absolutely. Same sort of copyright situation!
Hi, Hannah! Is your school non-profit, designated as a 501c3? If so, then all non-commercial/educational rules of fair use apply as do the educational exceptions in copyright law. If the school is for-profit, then those educational exceptions in the copyright law do not apply, but the basic tenets of fair use do apply. This might allow for some fair usage of materials...but it would be much more limited. You'd likely have to stick to public domain resources or obtain permissions.
Hi, Anne! Most formal contests require model releases for all individuals deemed "easily recognizable" within a photo. If any people in the photo are facing the camera, then the student might need their permission to move forward with the contest. I'd have the student check the terms and conditions of the contest and proceed from there.
Hi, Gwen! Since the photos are being put on a public website, I'd advise getting permission from the muralist, if possible. This is a bit of a gray area, so when in doubt, ask permission!
Ryan, Erin. "Bonus Webinar Q&A with Erin Ryan." School Library Connection, March 2021, schoollibraryconnection.com/Content/Article/2262731.
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