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Copyright for Educators: Copyright


copyright-symbolThis guide has been created to explain some aspects of copyright and to offer examples of acceptable uses of copyrighted materials. It should not be construed as legal advice.

Use of copyrighted materials by educators is governed by the Copyright Law of the United States of America and Related Laws Contained in Title 17 of the United States Code. The responsibility for following copyright law and securing copyright clearance rests with the individual.

The Omaha Public Schools Board of Education has established the following policies and practices regarding the use of print and non-print media for teachers and staff:

Policies and Regulations, Douglas County School District No. 001

  • Policy 3.21 a and b; Policy 6.22

Practices and Procedures, Douglas County School District No. 001

  • Utilization of textbooks, #4, page 28
  • Use of Non--Print Media from Outside Sources, page 61
  • Responsibility for Selection of Media, page 62


Due to the complexities of copyright it is extremely difficult to create one resource or policy that addresses all situations, For questions regarding copyright and fair use, contact Stacy Lickteig, OPS Library Services Department.



The exclusive legal right given to the creators or their assignees of "original works of authorship," including literary, dramatic, musical, and artistic works. U.S. copyright law generally gives the author of an original creative work an exclusive right to reproduce (copy) or distribute the original work to the public, create new works based upon the original work, and perform or display the work publicly.

The intent of copyright is to advance the progress of knowledge by giving an author of a work an economic incentive to create new works. --From the University of Maryland University College Site

Derivative work

 "A work based upon one or more preexisting works, such as a translation, musical arrangement, dramatization, fictionalization, motion picture version, sound recording, art reproduction, abridgment, condensation, or any other form in which a work may be recast, transformed..." 

Fair Use

"pertaining to the US Copyright Act, Title 17. Chapter 1. Section 107, in which limitations are set for copying a work.  Purposes such as teaching, researching, and criticism are acceptable for limited copying of a work"

Public domain

"The realm embracing property rights that belong to the community at large, are unprotected by copyright or patent, and are subject to appropriation by anyone


" A concept used in United States copyright law to describe a characteristic of some derivative works that makes them transcend or place in a new light the underlying works on which they are based. In computer- and Internet-related works, the transformative characteristic of the later work is that it provides the public with a benefit not previously available to it, which would otherwise remain unavailable. Such transformativeness weighs heavily in a fair use analysis and may excuse what seems a clear copyright infringement from liability." -- Wikipedia

Work for Hire

 "A work made for hire (sometimes abbreviated as work for hire or WFH) is an exception to the general rule that the person who actually creates a work is the legally recognized author of that work. According to copyright law in the United States and certain other copyright jurisdictions, if a work is "made for hire", the employer—not the employee—is considered the legal author. In some countries, this is known as corporate authorship. The incorporated entity serving as an employer may be a corporation or other legal entity, an organization, or an individual." -- Wikipedia

What Is Protected by Copyright?

Copyright Basics - Copyright Clearance Center, Inc.























For printable chart:Know Your Copy Rights Matrix - Copyright Clearance Center, Inc.

Common Copyright Questions

Omaha Public Schools does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, religion, sex, marital status, sexual orientation, disability, age, genetic information, citizenship status, or economic status in its programs, activities and employment and provides equal access to the Boy Scouts and other designated youth groups. The following individual has been designated to address inquiries regarding the non-discrimination policies: Superintendent of Schools, 3215 Cuming Street, Omaha, NE 68131 (531-299-9822).

Las Escuelas Públicas de Omaha no discriminan basados en la raza, color, origen nacional, religión, sexo, estado civil, orientación sexual, discapacidad , edad, información genética, estado de ciudadanía, o estado económico, en sus programas, actividades y empleo, y provee acceso equitativo a los “Boy Scouts” y a otros grupos juveniles designados. La siguiente persona ha sido designada para atender estas inquietudes referentes a las pólizas de no discriminación: El Superintendente de las Escuelas, 3215 Cuming Street, Omaha, NE 68131 (531-299-9822).