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Copyright and Creative Commons

Understanding copyright issues in the classroom, plus a self-paced instructional module!

Myth & Reality

MYTH: I don’t need Fair Use, educators have “special privileges”!

Reality: Educational Fair Use does have some exemptions, but they are extremely limited.


MYTH: It’s easy for an academic, I can use whatever I want because everything I do is “noncommercial”!

Reality: Simply not making money does not grant you a fair use pass.


MYTH: It’s old, it’s out of print, and the author is DEAD. Of course I can use it freely!

Reality: Out of print (or the author’s death) does NOT mean out of copyright.


MYTH: It’s on the web, so it’s public domain!

Reality: ”Public Domain” is a specific legal phrase that is in many ways irrelevant to web content.


MYTH: I’m using content in an online class, so it’s password protected!

Reality: Fair Use still applies; the TEACH Act offers further permissions (and restrictions) but not a blanket exemption.


MYTH: I cited it and I even kept the © symbol!

Reality: Well done! You’re still obligated by the restrictions of Fair Use and the TEACH Act.


MYTH: I only used 10% so I’m good to go!

Reality: There are no firm rules on percentages. Check the 4 Factors of Fair Use!


MYTH: I can always beg forgiveness, because I can’t be expected to understand all this!

Reality: Nope, not a chance.

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