Copyright FAQ

If you are an APS employee and want more information about copyright you may contact Amy Hailey, Supervisor Library Services, or the instructional supervisor for the type of material being used. See the APS copyright policy for more information. The following information is not a substitute for legal advice.

Print Questions | AV Questions | Multimedia Questions | Distance Learning Questions

Library Services Copyright Update 2019-2020 (1)

Copyright 2019-2020 One-Pager

Q: What is the APS copyright policy?
A: Read the APS copyright policy

Q: What is Fair Use?
A: Section 107 of the Copyright Act of 1978, Article 17 of the United States Code reads that:

The fair use of a copyrighted work, including such use by reproduction in copies or phonorecords or by any other means specified by that section, for the purposes such as criticism,comment, news reporting, teaching (including multiple copies for classroom use), scholarship, or research, is not an infringement of copyright. In determining whether the use made of a work in any particular case is a fair use the factors to be considered shall include–

  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.

Q: What about Educational Fair Use?
A: Since Fair Use isn’t always clear in the way it is applied to schools, Congress has created guidelines and statutes that make Fair Use easier to understand. The additional guidelines test for brevity, spontaneity, and cumulative effect for print, music and off-air recordings. The TEACH Act and the Digital Millennium Copyright Act cover multimedia and the distance learning among other provisions.


Print Questions

Q: I want to use student work as exemplars are there any restrictions?
A: You need to get permission from both the student and their parent or guardian.

Q: I see that I can make multiple copies for classroom use. Are there any limitations that I should know about?
A: You may only make the exact number of copies as there are students in your class. Always include the copyright notice on the copies that you make. Be aware that you can not make copies of pages of a workbook or other consumable item. Copyright guidelines also restrict the amount of a work that you can copy. Please talk to Gina Glassman at the Wakefield Library for more information.

Q: Is there a limit on the total number of articles that I can copy and hand out to my class?
A: The copyright guidelines limit the number of individual articles that you can distribute per class to nine. Teachers are prohibited from creating their own anthologies.

Q: Can I have my students copy articles and turn them in with their assignment?
A: Yes, that is fine, but since you are assigning them to make a copy, it is the same as if you make the copy.

Q: Can I have my students translate a book into another language or turn a book into a play?
A: No, that is considered an adaptation and is one of the rights of the copyright holder.

Q: What are the rules on brevity?
A: Up to 250 words of a poem may be copied. A complete article, story or essay under 2,500 words may be copied. For other prose a copy must not be more than 1,000 words or 10% of the work. Only two pages of a picture book or graphic novel may be copied.

Q: Can I copy an illustration, cartoon or graph?
A: Yes, you can copy one per book or magazine issue. The illustration needs to be used for direct teaching and can be scanned into a digital slideshow.

Q: What does spontaneity mean when used in the educational fair use guidelines?
A: The idea is that decision to use the work that you want is so recent that you don’t have time to request permission from the copyright holder. If you know four weeks in advance that you will be teaching a particular work, you have time to request permission, and it is not spontaneous. Also, a department head or administrator can not make copies to hand out in classes other than their own. If you are assigned to teach a particular text, it is not spontaneous.

Q: How long do copyrights last?
A: The short answer is if the work was produced before January 1,1923, it is in the public domain, otherwise consider it copyrighted. Not every newer work is covered by copyright however, if you really need to know about a particular work you need a copyright status investigation.

Q: What if the work I want to use is out of print?
A: Just because a work is out of print doesn’t mean that it is out of copyright.


AV Questions

Q: Can you transfer a videotape to a DVD for me?
A: Sorry, the answer is no. Making a copy and changing the format is not allowed by law. If the tape is available in DVD format we can add that to our list of items for purchase. We can also provide you with a VHS player if you need one. You can plug a VHS player into your SMART board.

Q: The school system doesn’t own the movie I want to show. Can I bring my own copy?
A: No, APS policy requires that the movie be owned by the school system. Don’t show movies that you obtain from Netflix or Redbox. Netflix licenses movies for your personal and non-commercial use only. Redbox grants you a limited, personal, non-exclusive, non-commercial, revocable, non-assignable and non-transferable license to download, view and/or play one copy of such Materials on any single computer or other device for your personal, non-commercial use only.

Q: Are there any restrictions of what I can show in class?
A: APS does not allow the viewing of R rated films. However, exceptions to this policy may be made by your administrator. You can show other films as long as they meet the criteria for Fair Use.

If you don’t meet the criteria for Fair Use you can still show a movie under the APS movie licensing agreement with Swank Media. The Wakefield Library has a copy of the license.

Q: Can I Stream Movies during Distance Learning?

Teachers are not allowed to stream any movies, even if they own them. We must get permission from Swank for movies to be shown through streaming. There is a cost for this. You can reach out to Swank to get the cost for this, but Library Services does not have the money to cover this fee. Teachers can stream movies found in Discovery Education.

Q: I want to show a film to my after school club? Are there any restrictions?
A: You are welcome to show any film that is represented by Movie Licensing USA as long as you don’t charge, and the film is shown inside the school. If you want to show a film as a fund raiser you will need to purchase a separate license for a one time public showing. The Wakefield Library has a copy of the movie license.


Multimedia Questions

Q: What are the limits on copyright work that I can include in my PowerPoint presentation?
A: The guidelines vary according to the type of media used.

  • Motion Media: 10% or 3 minutes whichever is less.
  • Text: Up to 10% or 1000 words whichever is less. Poems shorter than 250 words can be completely copied. Only three poems from one author or five poems from a single anthology.
  • Music: 10% but not more than 30 seconds from a single work. This includes incidental or background music.
  • Illustrations, cartoons or photographs: A work may be used in its entirety but no more than five works from a single artist may be used in multimedia show. If you use photographs from a single collection of different photographers only 15 images or 10% of the total work may be used, whichever is less.
  • Numerical data sets: 10% or 2,500 fields or cells whichever is less.

Q: Do I have to have a copyright notice in my slide show?
A: Yes, and it needs to be on the first slide. Include this notice:
NOTICE: The following presentation contains copyrighted materials used under the Multimedia Guidelines and Fair Use exemptions of U.S. copyright law. Further us is prohibited.

Q: If I have a copyright notice, do I need a bibliography?
A: Yes. Also there should be in-slide attribution.

Q: How do I credit photographs on the slide?
A: There are several different formats that will do the trick. The easiest to credit the photographers name in small type directly underneath the photograph, i.e. Credit: Donna Felsenheld. A complete citation will be in the bibliography.

Q: Is there any time limit that affects how long I can keep my presentation?
A: If you use copyrighted materials, you can only use the presentation for two years without additional permission.


Distance Learning Questions

Q: I’m flipping my classroom instruction, what do I need to know?
A: The following activities are expressly prohibited by the TEACH act.

  • scanning or uploading complete or long works
  • storing works on an open website
  • allowing students access to materials at will (material must be posted with a limited time frame)

Works Cited

“Arlington Public Schools Policy E-7.1.1 Use of Copyrighted Resources.” Arlington Public Schools, 6 June 2019,    Accessed 1 June 2021.

“Circulars.” U.S. Copyright Office, 2017, Accessed 1 June 2021.

“K-12 Schools.” Swank Motion Pictures, 2021, Accessed 1 June 2021

Simpson, Carol. Copyright for schools: a practical guide. 5th ed. Santa Barbara, Calif.: Linworth, 2010. Print.

.”U.S. Copyright Fair.” U.S. Copyright Office, Library of Congress, May 2021, U.S. Copyright Office Fair Use Index. Accessed 1      June 2021.