Teachers can legally use copyrighted materials under three conditions:
This page will help you to know how to determine if something is in the public domain or if your use of a work falls under fair use.
Additional information about copyright, including public domain, fair use, and using images, can be found on the Copyright and Fair Use Libguide.
What is public domain?
A public domain work is a creative work that is not protected by copyright and which may be freely used by everyone.
Works fall into the public domain for three main reasons:
As a general rule, most works enter the public domain because of old age. This includes any work published in the United States before 1923. Another large block of works are in the public domain because they were published before 1964 and copyright was not renewed. (Renewal was a requirement for works published before 1978.) A smaller group of works fell into the public domain because they were published without copyright notice (copyright notice was necessary for works published in the United States before March 1, 1989).
Fair Use allows you to use copyrighted materials without permission. It is not sufficient to say that the use is for educational purposes and therefore fair use. A four-factor test must be applied and a balanced judgment must be made. The four factors are: