Copyright Basics

For "scholarly research" a teacher may make a single copy of:

  • a chapter from a book
  • an article from a periodical
  • a short story, essay, or poem
  • a chart, graph, diagram, or picture

A teacher may make multiple copies of:

  • a poem of less than 250 words which is printed on no more than 2 pages
  • an excerpt from a long poem not to exceed 250 words
  • a complete article, story, or essay of less than 2,500 words or an excerpt of not more than 1,000 words or 10%, whichever is less
  • one chart, graph, diagram, or picture per book
  • up to 10% of a work which combines prose, poetry, and illustration
  • all of these must bear the copyright notice.

Restrictions to multiple copies

  • no more than 3 authors from a collective work
  • no more than 9 instances per term
  • the copying does not replace an anthology or collected work
  • copying of consumable works is prohibited
  • the same item may not be copied for more than one term
  • no charge beyond the cost of photocopying can be made to students
  • printed musical scores may be duplicated only if replacement copies have been ordered and the photocopies are destroyed when the purchased copies arrive

Copyrighted, syndicated cartoons may NOT be copied!

Audio-Visual Copyright Guidelines

A teacher may create:

  • a single overhead transparency from a single page of a consumable work
  • a series of transparencies or 35mm. slides from multiple sources, limited to one per source
  • a set of 35mm. slides (1/2 frame) from a damaged filmstrip as long as they are displayed in the original order minus the damaged frames
  • an enlarged map provided the color scheme, shading, and symbols of the original are not duplicated

Restrictions to audio-visual duplication

  • no duplication of audio cassettes for archival purposes
  • no conversion of recordings from one format to another
  • no photocopying of "ditto" masters
  • no reproduction of any audio-visual work in its entirety
  • no conversion of one media format to another

Television restrictions

  • any broadcast program may be videotaped and maintained for 45 calendar days (cable programs that are not available over broadcast TV may not be taped)
  • the program may be used once by an individual teacher in the 10 school days following the broadcast
  • the teacher using the videotape must request the taping
  • a program may not be taped more than once, regardless of how many times it is broadcast
  • the program must be recorded in its entirety, including the copyright notice, but not all of the program must be shown
  • programs must be shown in a location in the school which is normally used for instructional purposes
  • the program must be an integral part of the curriculum, not just entertainment

For Home Use Only

Teachers, or educational institutions, may purchase or rent a videotape which bears a "For Home Use Only" message and use it in an educational institution providing these two tests are met:
  • the program is shown in a room normally used for instruction
  • it is an integral part of the curriculum
Videotapes may not be shown for entertainment purposes without paying public performance fees.

Computer Software Copyright Guidelines

A teacher may:

  • make a copy of a computer program for archival purposes
  • load a software program onto a network if a network license is obtained for the number of machines used
  • load a software program onto two computers if there is no possibility both computers will be operated simultaneously.
Every software program has its own set of restrictions. In many cases the "purchase" of the disks represents a "leasing" of the software. Teachers should get in the habit of reading all of the small type that comes on the outside of computer programs before opening the package.

Multimedia Copyright Guidelines

  • Students may use portions of lawfully acquired copyrighted works in their academic multimedia projects, with proper attribution and citations, and may retain these in their personal portfolios as examples of their academic work for later appropriate uses such as job and graduate school applications.
  • Educators may use portions of lawfully acquired copyrighted works in the course of face-to-face instruction or to demonstrate to students how to create multimedia projects.
  • Educators may perform or display their own multimedia works created for their own curriculum-based instructional activities, which use portions of copyrighted works lawfully acquired by the educational institution, at workshops of their peers or a conference where educators are presenting work they created for their students.
  • Educators may use portions of lawfully acquired copyrighted works in producing their own multimedia educational programs to be used for curriculum-based instructional activities provided over an educational institution's electronic network, provided there are technological limitations on access to the network and on the total number of students enrolled.


  • Educators may use their own multimedia programs, containing portions of copyrighted works for a period of two years.
  • Up to 10% or 3 minutes of a copyrighted motion media work may be reproduced.
  • Up to 10% or 30 seconds of a copyrighted musical composition may be reproduced.
  • Up to 5 images from a specific artists or photographer may be reproduced.
  • No more than 10% or 15 images may be reproduced from a single publication.
  • The multimedia program may not be duplicated nor sold.
  • The multimedia program may be placed on a network which requires a password or PIN to access the program, but must be protected from duplication.

This document is not intended to be construed as legal opinion. It is derived from Copyright:A Guide to Information and Resources,. Becker, Gary H., 3rd Edition.