Skip to Main Content

Copyright in the Classroom

This guide will assist you in making decisions about using copyrighted content in the classroom (but it is NOT legal advice!).


Librarians are not lawyers, and what follows is not legal advice.

Copyright Overview

The original purpose of copyright, as written in the Constitution, is to balance the rights of creators and users of copyrighted content to spur innovation & creativity.  Just as we can't create in a vaccuum, we should have the right to control our creative works in certain ways...and benefit so we are encouraged to create more!  It is important to keep in mind that we are all creators and users when making copyright decisions...

We are no longer required to either register or attach a copyright notice for our work to be protected by copyright. As soon as your work is fixed in tangible form, it is protected. Registration, though not required, may be advisable in some cases. There are both benefits and drawbacks to automatic copyright. It makes it easy for anyone to copyright their work regardless of their knowledge of copyright law, but it makes it hard for users to tell what is under copyright.  

Use these questions to guide you as you make decisions about using content in the classroom.  This guide has a tab w/resources to help you answer each question.  Follow the questions in order.  It is designed to lead you from easier to more difficult copyright questions.  

©2024 St. Catherine University Library, St. Paul, Minnesota, USA

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License