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GE 6220 - School Law (Fay)

Copyright Law

The laws of copyright are very specific, and hard to remember. Here are some important fast-facts when it comes to reproducing materials:

  • Under the copyright law, reproduction can take either of two forms:

                  1. The making of copies: by photocopying, making microform reproductions, videotaping, or any other method of duplicating visually-perceptible material and

                  2. The making of phonorecords: by duplicating sound recordings, taping off the air, or any other method of recapturing sounds.

  • The owner of a copyright has the rights to:

                  1. reproduce the copyrighted work in copies or phonorecords;

                  2. prepare derivative works based upon the copyrighted work;

                  3. to distribute copies or phonorecords of the copyrighted work to the public by sale or other transfer of ownership, or by rental, lease, or lending.

  • Infringement takes place when any one of the rights is violated: where, for example, a printer reproduces copies without selling them or a retailer sells copies without having anything to do with their preproduction.

                  1. A copyrighted work would be infringed by reproducing it in whole or in any substantial part, and by duplicating it exactly or by imitation or                         simulation.

                  2. Variations from the copyrighted work would still be an infringement as long as the author's "expression" rather than merely the author's "ideas"                         are taken.

  • Reproduction in copies or phonorecords or by any other means for purposes such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching (including multiple copies for classroom use), scholarship, or research, is not an infringement of copyright. The following should all be considered when duplicating a work:

                  1. the purpose and character of the use (educational purposes? for-profit?);

                  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 the value of the copyrighted work (are you preventing people from having to purchase the                         work?).


This is just a tidbit of some of the most common copyright questions. All of this information was taken from the Reproduction of Copyrighted Works by Educators and Librarians, which has been produced by the government. Please use the resource for more information.


Books we have on copyright