In recent discussions of copyright laws, a controversial issue has been whether these laws are being followed in educational settings or not. On the one hand, some argue that if the material is being used for educational reasons than copyright laws can be ignored. From this perspective, teachers feel the pressure of tight budgets from their school distract and feel if they are breaking copyright laws for the good of their students education than it is alright. On the other hand, however, others argue that these laws exist to protect the owners of the copyright and should be followed. According to this view, teachers should be leading by example to their students, we can not look down on them for plagiarizing when we stole the material for the lesson. In sum then, the issue is how can teachers use material to help their students education but not break copyright laws.
The answer to this is called “Fair Use”, which allows some flexibility with copyright laws when used in an educational setting. There are Four test for Fair Use that can help guide teachers when trying to decide whether something is legal to use or not.
- Will the material be used for a non-profit/noncommercial educational institution?
- What is the nature of the work being used?
- How much of the work are you wanting to use?
- How will your use of the work effect the market value of the work being copied?