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Milne Library SUNY Geneseo Subject Guides

Education (Lesson Planning Resources): Copyright in the Classroom

What is Copyight?

Copyright is a form of protection provided by the laws of the United States for "original works of authorship", including literary, dramatic, musical, architectural, cartographic, choreographic, pantomimic, pictorial, graphic, sculptural, and audiovisual creations. "Copyright" literally means the right to copy but has come to mean that body of exclusive rights granted by law to copyright owners for protection of their work. Copyright protection does not extend to any idea, procedure, process, system, title, principle, or discovery. Similarly, names, titles, short phrases, slogans, familiar symbols, mere variations of typographic ornamentation, lettering, coloring, and listings of contents or ingredients are not subject to copyright.

Blogs, M. (n.d.). Copyright - all rights reserved. Retrieved from

Copyright Workshop Links

The first six websites contain information about copyright, fair use, and the public domain. The next three sites will give you information about creative commons (CC) and how to find CC material. The last links are items used during the lesson.

Fair Use

  • Fair Use affords the Public the right to to use portions of copyrighted materials in some circumstances-- usually for comment, criticism or parody--freely and without permission of the copyright holder.
  • Fair use of an image means that you still need to cite the source!  
  • Fair use law is somewhat vague and subjective, and cases are decided in a court of law on an individual basis.
  • Educational fair use is not specifically outlined in Copyright Law, but guidelines have been developed that provide educational institutions with some direction.

Credit to Jill Markgraf