Read and Be Free

A look at libraries, literature, technology and staying sane in an insane world.

Dead end? October 26, 2008

Filed under: Uncategorized — aimeethompson99 @ 5:55 PM

Dear teachers,

What happens when you reach a dead end in your quest for copyright permission?  Even after a sincere, honest and time consuming quest, there are instances when you might reach a dead end.  

You may not be able to identify or contact the copyright owner or you may have received no response from your request efforts.

At this point, you can return to fair use guidelines to see if you can modify your usage of a certain material that would fall under fair use.  

You can replace your intended material with an alternative choice.

You can make a “risk assessment” or whether your usage of a copyrighted material would be found out and whether the risk of proceeding without permission is worth the risk of any liabilities against you.

In any circumstance, following good copyright and fair use judgement in your classroom will model sound ethical behavior for your students.  Seek our permission whenever possible, and utilize the resources provided by your library media specialist, and please seek me out for help, suggestions, or alternatives.




Keep Good Records

Filed under: Uncategorized — aimeethompson99 @ 5:44 PM

My goal is to encourage at least one teacher to create an actual copyright assignment where students actually go through the steps of applying for their own copyrights and also go through the steps of obtaining copyright permission for something.

Keeping good records of permission requests is important, especially since the written documents granting permission would stand up against any future liabilities.

Good records should include the following:

Name and Citation of the work


Type of media (print, audio, video, illustration, etc.)

Number of copies/Type of use (worksheet, presentation, mural, brochure, etc.)

Name of copyright owner and all contact information

Date of permission requested

Date of permission granted

Any fee charged by copyright holder

Receipts of any fees paid

Expiration date of permission



Writing the Permission Request Letter

Filed under: Uncategorized — aimeethompson99 @ 5:36 PM

Things to include in your permission request letter:

1. Title (volume and issue number is applicable)

2. Author and or editor(s)

3. The exact material to be used (page numbers, chapters, illustrations, etc.)

4. Copyright date of the material

5. The number of copies to be made

6. The dates of usage or how many times you plan to use the material

7. Your plans for use or distribution (academic, classroom, commercial, etc.)

In your request, be concise, polite, but include as much detail as possible in how you plan to make use of the copyrighted material.

Below is a link of a sample request letter from the Copyright Management Center of Indiana University:



Getting Copyright Permission

Filed under: Uncategorized — aimeethompson99 @ 5:30 PM

In the relatively short time I’ve been focusing on copyright, I’ve realized that when I present this blog to my teachers, they will undoubtedly scoff and mock with disgust because of all of the DON’Ts that are presented…don’t do this, can’t use that, don’t want to get in trouble for this, can’t allow you to use that.

On a positive note, I want to provide teachers and students with tools for actually gaining copyright permission.


Steps towards permission include:

1. Contact the publisher or owner of the copyrighted material.  

2. Find the “Permission Department” link on a publisher’s or creator’s website.

3.  Write a letter directly to the author or creator requesting permission.

4. Start the process early (it could take several months to get permission).

5. Contact the U.S. Copyright office to conduct a search of its records.

6.  Keep in mind that the absence of a c symbol does not necessarily mean the work is in the public domain.  The U.S. Copyright office does charge a rather hefty fee for searching for you, but if you really want permission, it could be worth the cost.

7.  Many larger publishers post their copyright permission request forms on their websites.

8.  Contact the copyright holder directly via e-mail, mail, fax, or phone.

9.  Keep records of your requests and any permission gained.

10. Don’t be surprised if you are charged a fee for using a requested material.


What about losing copyright?

Filed under: Uncategorized — aimeethompson99 @ 5:22 PM

After attending the Maine Libraries Conference last week, one topic that came up several times in regards to Web 2.0 applications was the issue of copyright.  Many librarians mentioned that applications such as Flickr, YouTube, Facebook and MySpace allow students and patrons to post their personal work on the web and could therefore lose THEIR copyrights to work they submit.  How many of us actually read the Acceptable Use Policies posted by Google Docs, Flickr, etc.?  A good question to ask.  In teaching our staff and students about NOT infringing on others’ copyrights we seem to skip over the notion that students and staff who create new materials could also lose their right to copyright by posting to some of these Web 2.0 applications.

These comments definitely got me to thinking.  Should I also devote library instruction time to teaching students about applying for their own copyrights?  I think I will. This could be a whole other blog topic, but I wanted to mention this here…so that I don’t forget to follow up on it too!


October 2008 School Library Journal October 10, 2008

Filed under: Uncategorized — aimeethompson99 @ 5:12 PM

For those interested, the October 2008 issue of School Library Journal has a fantastic article on copyright: “Who’s Afraid of the Big Bad C?”  by Doug Johnson.

Check it out!



Common Misconceptions about Copyright

Filed under: Uncategorized — aimeethompson99 @ 12:05 AM

The following is a link to the Top 10 Myths About Copyright posted by Brad Templeton:

I found his summary very useful in that it debunks some commonly thought negative perspectives of copyright.  Brad also graciously grants permission to use his link…so I feel confident using it here!