• Copyright for Educators and Students



    The State College Area School District expects all students and staff to abide by Federal Copyright Law.  To that end, the school board passed three related policies:

    Use of Copyright Material During Remote Learning

    What are educators' responsibilities?
    • Model and teach responsible use of copyrighted materials (Quick video for middle & high school students)
    • Use critical thinking and reasoning to determine acceptable use of copyrighted materials
    • Use age appropriate citation practices
    • Make clear the difference between responsible use and plagiarized use of copyrighted materials
    • Model your use of copyrighted materials in your handouts and presentations, and share your reasoning process with your students
    This web page and linked pages are designed to assist students and staff in navigating copyright law. The district also offers an online course for faculty. The course is required of all faculty. Contact your building Librarian or ITS for more information.
    PURPOSE:  Copyright Law was enacted by the United States government to protect the rights of creative citizens and to ensure the benefit to society from these creative endeavors.  The law includes provisions for educational and transformational use of creative product.  Many of these provisions are part of the Fair Use Doctrine.


    (1) the purpose and character of the use, including whether such use is of a commercial nature or is for nonprofit educational purposes;
    (2) the nature of the copyrighted work;
    (3) the amount and substantiality of the portion used in relation to the copyrighted work as a whole; and
    (4) the effect of the use upon the potential market for or value of the copyrighted work.
    • As technology advanced, applying the fair use provision became muddy at times. Over the years copyright law has been revisited in court cases.  A 2006 court case helped clarify educational and transformational use of copyrighted works. 
    • The result of this court case and the Hobbs study have brought a revised process to determining acceptable use of copyrighted material.
      • One of the key tests for fair use is the test of transformation.
      • Determining Fair Use, is to be done through thoughtful evaluation and critical thinking and reasoning. The Fair Use Reasoning Form is helpful in this process. 
      • Some provisions of the copyright law have not changed:

    Crediting sources does not mean you don't have to consider copyright. And determining a use is appropriate does not mean the user does not need to cite sources.  Citations should always be included and be age appropriate.

    Copyright Free Resources are still available and do not require a Fair Use determination.
    • Soundzabound - The SCASD supplies a royalty free music and sound effects service that may be used by all students and staff in school related productions As always, cite your use!  Soundzabound how-to tips
    • Image Quest millions of photos that may be used royalty free in SCASD student and staff projects.  As always, cite your use! Check out Video of Image Quest tips


    Videos may be shown under Fair Use if it is a face-to-face teachings situation, the video is part of the articulated curriculum and the video is shown at the time the topic is taught.  Videos shown under other circumstances must have a public performance license.  SCASD continues a subscription to Swank/K-12 Movie Licensing USA and movies covered under the license may be shown without Fair Use guidelines. To search for movie titles covered by the license, visit Swank/K-12 Movie Licensing USA.
    • SCASD has a statements of practice on video ratings of videos shown to students.  


    When in doubt or fair use does not apply there is still the option to ask permission.

    If you're still not sure if your use of copyrighted material is Fair Use...

    • Do your own thinking based on the guidelines on this web site.
    • Complete the Fair Use Reasoning Form.
    • If you are still unsure, consult your building librarian or ITS, but they will want to review your responses to the Fair Use Reasoning form before they offer any advice.

    Related articles (also linked in text above)

    Works Cited

    The Code of Best Practices in FairUse for Media Literacy Education. Center for Social Media. School of Communication

    American University. 2010. Web. 04 Aug. 2010.

    "Document the Fair-UseReasoning Process." Media Education Lab. School of Communications andTheater Temple U, 2009.

    Web. 5 Aug. 2010.  .

    Hobbs, Renee.  CopyrightClarity.  Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin & NCTE, 2010.

    Russell, Carrie. CompleteCopyright. Washington, DC: American Library Association, 2004. Print.

    "Transformation." OxfordDictionaries. Apple Widget file.

    U.S. Copyright Office. N.p., n.d.Web. 5 Aug. 2010.

Last Modified on October 3, 2022