TIPS

Searching | Evaluation | Ethical Use | Glossary of Terms

Ethical Use and the Web

Tip #1 Respect Copyright Laws

Although documents, pictures, audio and other information are all easy to copy from the Internet, it is your responsibility to understand and respect the laws that protect the author(s) of electronic information. The copyright laws that govern information in all formats are complex. It is impossible to reduce them to a few simple rules. We encourage you to visit the pages listed here. They have been prepared by legal and other experts on the subject of copyright and can help you learn to decide for yourself whether it is appropriate to use electronic information sources in your work.

The first and most important rule is, "If you have any doubt about the legality of using copyrighted information, don't use it!"

But please note that this is an area of the law that is changing rapidly. All materials recommended here are intended to help you make good decisions. Good decisions related to copyright will always require critical thinking on the part of the user.

Copyright in an Electronic Environment - An extensive and readable overview of the major terms and concepts related to copyright issues in education.

Fair Use of Copyrighted Materials - Deals with the doctrine of fair use, a special application of the copyright laws in the educational environment.

The Copyright Clearance Center - Specializes in helping users obtain permission to use copyrighted materials. Their web site also contains a selected list of Internet resources on copyright issues.

Copyright and Fair Use - An extensive listing of web documents and sites dealing with copyright issues, compiled by the Stanford University Library.