• 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 websites with information:

    Fair Use information:

    • Fair 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 information:

    Websites with public domain content for students to use:

    Copyright Free or Creative Commons licensed Audio/Video to use in projects: