Top Tips from Copyright Law Tweetchat

January 2014, Volume 37, Issue 5

Earlier this month, a group of principals, superintendents, and librarians convened on Twitter to learn how to be in the right with copyrights.

On Tuesday, January 7, 2014, NAESP joined the American Library Association (ALA), NASSP, and AASA to host a tweetchat on copyright issues in education, using the hashtag #k12copylaw. Copyright expert and bestselling author Carrie Russell fielded questions on copying worksheets, using YouTube clips in student projects, and more.

Over the course of the chat, 205 users tweeted over 600 posts. Here are a few of the questions posed, and their answers.

Q: Can teachers make or share adaptive versions of books for students with special needs?

A: Yes. Under Fair Use [an exception to copyright law that allows limited use of materials], you can make accessible copies.

Q: Can students use popular music in projects, if they write and perform the music with alternate lyrics? Can we then post the video online?

A: I feel comfortable allowing students to use popular music in class, but not on a publicly accessible website. If you post online, get permission [to use the music].

Q: If teachers want to assign a DVD for summer reading, do students have to buy it, or can teachers post it on a password-protected site?

A: I would have some copies available at school or ask students to rent/purchase on their own.

Q: What should a principal do if he or she receives a threat alleging copyright infringement?

A: First, don’t freak out! Call me because it may be bogus. I would likely direct you to your legal counsel.

For more on the chat, review NAESP’s highlights on Storify, or the complete archive from ALA’s Storify. Russell’s book, Complete Copyright for K–12 Librarians and Educators, is available in ALA’s store.

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