Ed Tip: Copyright

Review considerations around copyright and fair use.

Grades K-12 3 min Resource by:
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Disclaimer: This information is not, nor is it intended to be, construed as legal advice. You should consult with a licensed attorney in your state if you have specific questions and for advice regarding your individual situation.


It can be confusing to determine what content you can or cannot legally use in your classroom, and much of this confusion comes down to copyright law. While decisions are often not final unless they are litigated, there are six generally accepted ways to determine if you are able to use content in your classroom. This list should not be considered binding legal advice. Rather, it is intended to provide you with some background and a set of guidelines to consider when pulling together content for your classroom.

Ways You Might Use Content in Your Classroom

Considerations for Fair Use

Use of copyrighted content is more likely to qualify as fair use if:

  • The use is not-for-profit and/or transformative.
  • The source content is a creative or imaginative work.
  • You use a small or insignificant part of the original.
  • Your use does not reduce earning potential of the creator.

Integration Ideas

As you pull together content for your classroom, it is important to consider copyright. It is also important to help your students understand copyright when they are creating products. As the teacher, you can set a great example by modeling copyright awareness and pointing out to students the steps you have taken to ensure learning materials in your classroom are copyright-compliant.

How can I learn more?

For more information about copyright and fair use, visit the website of the U.S. Copyright Office.