• Excerpted from the Guilford County Schools Personnel Handbook:
    Use of Copyrighted Materials

    The Guilford County Schools requires that all employees be knowledgeable of and adhere to all provisions of current Federal copyright law Title 17 of US Code and Congressional "fair use" guidelines. The district recognizes and supports the limitations on unauthorized duplication and use of copyrighted materials in all formats, as well as contractual and licensing agreements pertaining to the instructional use of all formats, including electronically transmitted materials. Willful or serious violations are considered to be in violation of expected standards of behavior for employees, students, and school visitors and may result in disciplinary action in accordance with board policy. The legal and insurance protection of the district will not be extended to employees who unlawfully copy or unlawfully use copyrighted materials.

    Questions often arise during the school year regarding copyright issues -- what can be copied and when can a video be shown, for example.  This page attempts to answer many common questions asked by teachers.  

    If there are questions that you have that are not addressed on this page, please talk with Ms. Cravey.  Copyright issues are taken very seriously by the school system and by the courts.  We all need to be aware of the rules so that we are following the law at all times. 

  • What is Copyright?

    Copyright - The exclusive right to print or produce, given for a limited number of years to an author, artist, etc., or his assignee. (Webster's Dictionary, 2004)

    Basically, the person who created the work (book, video, CD, etc.) owns that work and the right to make copies of it for a specified amount of time.  No other person may copy the work without the owner's permission, unless the copy or use of the work falls under Fair Use guidelines.

    What is Fair Use?

    Fair Use gives educators the right to use copyrighted materials without the specific consent of the owner.  
    Certain conditions must be met in order for use of materials to meet the standards for this educational exemption.  The conditions for each type of material are outlined below.

  • Print Materials:

    Teachers may make copies for classroom use or incorporate into a presentation the following: 

    *Poem less than 250 words or 250 word excerpt of a poem;
    *Articles, stories or essays less than 2500 words;
    *Excerpt from a longer work that does not exceed 10% of the entire work or 1,000 words;
    *Two pages from an illustrated children's book.

    Copies must be made from a legally acquired original and only one copy is allowed per student. The copying of "consumables" is never allowed under Fair Use guidelines.


    Computer Software:

    Fair Use does not allow the copying of computer software.  Computer software may not be loaded on more than one  computer unless a network license is purchased.


    Video and Audio Materials:

    Teachers may use Videotapes, purchased or rented, and DVD's in the classroom. The following restrictions apply in all cases:

    *The video/DVD must be shown by an instructor.
    *The video/DVD must be used in face-to-face instruction.
    *The video/DVD must be shown in a classroom or other instructional space.
    * The video/DVD must be legally acquired. 

    Videos/DVD's should never be shown as reward or entertainment.  Showing videos to groups of students is a "public performance."  Special permission is needed to show videos as part of public performances.


    Internet and Multi-Media:
    The Fair Use guidelines for print materials should be followed when using Internet resources.  All material taken from the internet should be cited.

    When creating a multimedia project there are limitations on each type of material that can be used.
    *Text: 10% or 1000 words, whichever is less.  May use entire poem if less than 250 words, 250 words of a longer poem. *Video/TV:  10% or 3 minutes whichever is less.
    *Music/Lyrics/Music Videos":  10% but no more than 30 seconds.
    *Illustrations/Photographs:  Must be used in its entirety.


    The terms of Fair Use apply to the use of recorded music in a classroom setting.
    *A single copy of a recording may be made  and retained by the instructor for evaluation or rehearsal purposes.
    *Multiple copies of a performance cannot be made, distributed or sold.
    *It is illegal to copy the music as a substitution for buying it.
    *Music may be used in projects, but the excerpt is limited to 10% or 30 seconds of the piece. 

    Television Programs:

    Teachers can allow students to view appropriate programs on Broadcast (ABC, NBC, CBS, PBS, etc.) or Cable (CNN, ESPN, Discovery, etc.) channels or they may videotape programs on these channels and show them to students within a limited timeframe. The use of tapes of TV programs must meet Fair Use guidelines, as well as other specific criteria:
    *The shows must be used for instruction.
    *Most tapes made of TV programs may be kept for 10 days.
    *The tape may not be shown to students after 10 days, but may be kept for evaluation purposes for a total of 45 days, after which it should be erased.

    Some channels have granted teachers extended use rights and the tapes of the shows may be kept for longer periods of time. Cable in the Classroom Magazine outlines some channels that have granted extended use.