Copyright, Plagiarism, and Fair Use Guidelines
These documents and links are designed to help students understand copyright, plagiarism and Fair Use Guidelines. The documents have been updated to include information on Creative Commons, Digital Guidelines, what Royalty Free really means, and copyleft. Below are brief descriptions of important terms, meant as an overview. Although Kent School District does not endorse any particular sources of copyrighted content, the resources at the bottom of this page may be helpful to members of our community who are seeking legitimate sources of online content.
Copyleft: the idea that people offer the right to freely distribute copies and modified versions of a work, as long as the same rights are preserved in derivative works in the future. Copyleft licenses are a way to ensure a work remains freely available, similar to Creative Commons licenses.
Copyright: a law that protects a creator’s ownership of and control over the work he or she creates, requiring other people to get the creator’s permission before they copy, share, or perform that work. KSD’s Copyright brochure (more copyright documents below). Students may use copyrighted work if the copyright owner grants permission or if a legal exception (such as in parody) has been made. Oftentimes Fair Use allows students to use copyrighted work with specific guidelines. To ask for permission to use copyright material, use this form, created by KSD.
Creative Commons: a kind of license that allows creators to define which copyright rights they reserve, and which rights they waive for the benefit of recipients or other creators. Creative Commons licenses make it easy for people to copy, share, and build on someone’s creative work – as long as they give the creator credit for it or follow the copyright holder’s chosen rights. KSD’s Creative Commons license and definition. Learn more about Creative Commons from the Creative Commons website.
Fair Use: guidelines that allow students (and others) limited use of copyrighted material without acquiring permission from the holder of that material's copyright. For students this could include commentaries, criticism, parody, news reporting, research, and teaching. Fair use is the ability to use a small amount of someone’s creative work without permission, but only in certain ways. Stanford University has created a fun-to-watch take on Fair Use using Disney movies called A Fair(y) Use Tale. KSD has a one-page summary of the Fair Use Guidelines (additional helpful documents at bottom of this page).
Glossary of terms is a fabulous collection of terms students should know regarding Copyright from Electronic Frontier Foundation.
Plagiarism and Piracy: Using someone else’s ideas or words without crediting the source and pretending they’re your own. Piracy is using, reproducing, or sharing copyrighted or patented material (usually music, movies, TV shows, and software) without permission.
Public Domain: creative work not protected by copyright, trademark, or patent laws (and therefore free to use). The public owns these works, not an individual author or artist. Anyone can use a public domain work without obtaining permission, but no one can ever own it. Examples include data, facts, ideas, Shakespeare works, ideas, scientific principles, works by Beethoven, most of early silent films, etc. Some PD collections creatively organized by an individual might have a copyright. The Electronic Frontier Foundation’s frequently asked questions page is very helpful, or for a more detailed explanation, Stanford University’s Public Domain page is found here.
Copyright documents with information:
- Copyright Permission Form – fill this out to ask permission to use content from a website
- Copyright Basics – information on copyright, public domain and more from BYU
- Copyright and Fair Use video – from Common Sense Media
- Copyright Brochure – Printable document to help students understand copyright (KSD)
- Copyright Frequently Asked Questions – Information from the Electronic Frontier Foundation
- Copyright Resources for
Education - chart that shows Fair Use and Copyright guidelines (from Hall
- KSD Copyright Policy #2025
- Multimedia Projects – how students can take use Fair Use guidelines, etc. in their projects (KSD)
- Copyright and Fair Use Cheat Sheet – quick chart from OCPS; remember these are guidelines, not hard and fast rules!
Sites Flyer – Even sites like Facebook and YouTube have copyright rules (KSD)
- Copyright Basics – From the U.S. Copyright Office
- Copyright Kids
Tutorial for Students, Teachers, and Parents – Fun tutorials to check your knowledge from BYU
- Copyright Website – terrific examples of cases brought against current movies, artists, etc.
- Taking the Mystery out of Copyright – From the U.S. Copyright Office
- USA Copyright Office
- Whose Is It? – Copyright and Fair Use video by common sense media
Fair Use information:
Use Guidelines – One page document with brief explanation of the four main points (KSD)
- Fair Use – Website with explanation of Fair Use Guidelines from the US copyright office
- Fair Use - Frequently Asked Questions from the Electronic Frontier Foundation
- Checklist – Use this checklist to see if Fair Use applies for content students want to use
- Plagiarism – KSD-created PowerPoint with information about plagiarism and how to avoid it.
- Kathy Shrock’s PowerPoint – shares information about what Plagiarism is
for elementary students – Plagiarism explained (KSD)
for secondary students – Plagiarism explained (KSD)
- Plagiarism and Piracy – Family Tip sheet from Common Sense Media
- Preventing Plagiarism (prezi presentation)
- Smithsonian Institution Public Domain Images
- Project Gutenberg, a collection of public domain electronic books
- Librivox, public domain audio books
- Prelinger Archives, a vast collection of advertising, educational, industrial, and amateur films.
Copyright Free or Creative Commons licensed Audio/Video to use in projects:
- Fair Use Applies: ClassicCat
- Fair Use Applies: netLabels
- Fair Use Applies: Internet ArchiveTaylor Howard
- Blip.tv (search by CC license)
- cc miXter
- Flash Kit sound loops
- JL Studios
- Open Video Project
- Partners In Rhyme Music Loops
- The Freesound Project
- Wayback Machine from Internet Archive