Citations and Copyright

  • CITATION Information: 





    • You may make one copy of any material you need for your schoolwork, or for your personal research.  You may keep that copy, but do not sell it or make more copies.


    • Only the creator of something can change it.  If you make a copy for schoolwork, do not change it in any way.  Do not perform or display it except for class work.


    • If you use an author’s ideas, you must give the author credit.  If you use an author’s words, you must put the words in quotation marks and give the author credit.  If you use a lot of someone’s work, you must get permission.


    • If you use someone else’s work outside of regular class work, you must get written permission from the owner.  This includes things like cartoon characters on posters.  Your teacher or Mrs. Melton can help you ask permission.


    • You may not copy computer software from the school computers.


    • Information you get from the school computers may only be used for schoolwork or personal research.


    • When you use information for your schoolwork, you must write down the source of the information.   That is called a citation.  Some of the things we cite are the title, author, publisher, and date of the information.  Your teacher or Mrs. Melton will give you guidelines about doing citations.  If someone does not give credit in this way it is called plagiarism. There are handouts in the library to assist you with citations!






    Both as American citizens and as educators we have an ethical and legal responsibility to respect and protect the work of others.


    Important Points

    -         United States copyright law covers all forms of expression if they have been put in durable form.  Examples include something written on paper, recorded on tape, painted on canvas, or coded into a computer.

    -         The old copyright symbol ã is not necessary for copyright protection.  All works created after Jan. 1, 1978 are protected by copyright law unless shown otherwise.

    -         Original student work is protected by copyright.  For schools to publish or display student work in public venues, written permission must be given by parents or legal guardians.


    Public Domain (These works are not covered by copyright protection.)

    1.      Titles, short phrases, names, common symbols or designs, slight variations on type styles, lettering or coloring, or lists of ingredients.

    2.      Ideas, procedures, methods, discoveries.  Descriptions or illustrations of these may be protected by copyright.

    3.      Works created by the federal government.

    4.      Works whose period of protection has expired.  Ex.  Works created after 1/1/78 are protected for the life of the author plus an additional 70 years.


                   6 Basic Rights of the Copyright Holder

    -         Reproduction

    -         Adaptation, or derivative work

    -         Distribution (sale, gift, rental, lease, etc.)

    -         Public performance

    -         Public display

    -         Digital audio transmission of sound recordings


    Fair Use Guidelines

    These provisions to copyright law grant types of users (such as educators) conditional rights to use or reproduce certain copyrighted material within specific guidelines.  In considering a fair use claim, the courts will consider both the rights of the author and of the user.  The educator (user) carries the burden of proving fair use.  It is our responsibility to be familiar with the guidelines and use them accordingly.


    There are 4 fair use factors: (Courts will examine all four in making decisions.)


    1. The purpose and character of the use, including whether such use 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
    4. The effect of the use upon the potential market for or value of the copyrighted work


    Congressional Considerations for Interpreting Fair Use, especially for schools and libraries:

    -         Brevity ( defined by specific lengths and numbers of items)

    -         Cumulative effect

    -         Spontaneity



    The spontaneity consideration requires that:

    1.      The copying or display is at the instance and inspiration of the individual teacher.  This means that no person in a position of authority, such as curriculum coordinator or administrator may direct teachers or librarians to copy materials under the fair use exemption.

    2.      The inspiration and decision to use the work and the moment of its use for maximum teaching effectiveness are so close in time that it would be unreasonable to expect a timely reply to a request for permission.


    To know the specific congressional guidelines for print (including graphics and music), audiovisual works, multimedia, satellite and distance learning, and computer software, please refer to Copyright for Schools, Third Edition by Carol Simpson, in the professional library or ask Mrs. Melton for appropriate handouts and additional materials!