4400 R1 - Guidelines for Copyright Compliance


While the district encourages its staff to enrich the learning programs by making proper use of supplementary materials, it is the responsibility of all district staff to abide by the district’s copying procedures and obey the requirements of the law. The district cannot be responsible for any violations of the copyright law by its staff.

The 1976 Federal Copyright Law makes it illegal to duplicate copyrighted materials without authorization of the holder of the copyright, except for certain exempt purposes. Severe penalties are provided for unauthorized copying or using of audio, visual, computer-based or printed materials, unless the copying, using, or performing conforms to the “fair use” doctrine. Fair use is determined by whether the copying meets the following four criteria:

  1. The purpose of the copying is nonprofit and educational.
  2. The nature of the work is such that the copying does not harm the copyright holder. Copying workbooks without permission, for example, would fail this test.
  3. The amount copied is brief, relative to the work itself
  4. The effect of the copying does not harm the potential market available to the copyright holder. For example, the copying cannot be done instead of purchasing the work.

Details of what can be copied under “fair use” are available in the latest edition of Copyright Condensed, available through the main office or library at each school.

  1. Other Copying Limitations
    1. In addition to the limitations imposed by the fair use guidelines, the following prohibitions have been expressly stated in federal guidelines:
      1. Reproduction of copyrighted material shall not be used to create or substitute for anthologies, compilations or collective works.
      2. Unless expressly permitted by agreement with the publisher and authorized by district action, there shall be no copying from copyrighted consumable materials such as workbooks, exercises, test booklets, answer sheets and the like.
      3. Staff shall not:
        1. Use copies to substitute for the purchase of books, periodicals, music recordings or other copyrighted material except as permitted by district procedure;
        2. Copy or use the same item from term to term without the copyright owner’s permission;
        3. Copy or use more than nine instances of multiple copying of protected material in any one term;
        4. Copy or use more than one short work or two excerpts from works of the same author in any one term; or
        5. Copy or use protected material without including a notice of copyright. The following is a satisfactory notice: NOTICE: THIS MATERIAL MAY BE PROTECTED BY COPYRIGHT LAW.
    2. Copies of computer software shall be governed by the licensing agreement issued by the producer at the time of purchase.
    3. Staff shall not reproduce or use copyrighted material at the direction of someone in higher authority or copy or use such material in emulation of some other teacher’s use of copyrighted material without permission of the copyright owner.
  2. Limitations on Public Performance of Commercial Films
    1. Purchasing audiovisual material does not override the copyright holder's right to control the display or performance of their material.
    2. For the use of copyrighted audiovisual material to fall under the exemption for educators that was built into the Copyright Law, it must meet all of the following criteria:
      1. The material must be used for face-to-face instruction
      2. It must be shown by students, teachers, or guest instructors
      3. It can only be shown to students or school staff
      4. The material must be shown or listened to in a place set aside for instruction
      5. The material cannot be from an illegal copy
      6. The showing of the material cannot be used to make a profit, either directly or indirectly
    3. Staff shall not use commercial films for any of the following without purchasing Public Performance Rights:
      1. Student rewards
      2. Cultural enrichment
      3. Last day of school
      4. Holiday events / assemblies
      5. Children's entertainment during PTA/PTO Meetings
      6. Movie nights
      7. Dances / safe prom
      8. Before or after school programs or latch key programs
      9. Lunch hour movies
      10. Rainy / snow days
      11. Lock-ins
      12. Staffing and other emergencies
      13. Summer camps
      14. Club meetings (even film or foreign language clubs)
    4. A handout explaining the copyright limitations placed on commercial films is available through the Instructional Media Department.
  3. Copyright Notices
    1. Notices about copyright infringement shall be placed on each piece of equipment that could be used for copying. This includes, but is not limited to:
      1. Photocopiers
      2. Scanners
      3. VCRs and DVRs
      4. Computers
      5. Document Cameras
    2. Copyright notices are available from the Edmonds School District Print Shop.

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