Copyright Information

3 min. readlast update: 02.28.2024

Copyright and trademark of materials, regardless of how they are produced or accessed, can be tricky and many educators believe they have blanket protections but this is not the case.

Yukon Public Schools Board Policy EFEA covers the user of copyrighted materials and our expectations of all employees in this regard.

The unauthorized reproduction of copyrighted material is illegal, and violations of applicable copyright laws could result in civil and/or criminal suits. Any District personnel reproducing copyrighted material shall be certain that the reproduction is in accordance with the applicable law and the District’s policies and regulations. Proper certification of compliance with copyright laws shall be required in order to process requests for reproduction.

It is the intent of the Yukon Public Schools to adhere to the provisions of the copyright law (Title 17 of the U.S. Code) as they affect the district and its employees. While the law identifies some "fair use" provisions, it also defines specific restrictions on the reproduction of copyrighted materials. A copyright is a property right; willful infringement of a copyright can result in criminal prosecution. It is the position of Yukon Public Schools that copyrighted materials, whether they are print or non-print, will not be duplicated unless such reproduction meets "fair use" standards or unless written permission from the copyright holder has been received. Illegal copies of copyrighted materials may not be made or used on district equipment.


Given how confusing copyright and fair use are and the complexities of digital use and sharing, the following tips can help keep you in the safe zone.

Teachers Pay Teachers (TpT) and other online pay sites: Resources on TpT and other online pay sites are licensed for individual use. Individual licenses are non-transferable and may not be used by or reallocated to a different educator. Your license doesn't cover use by another friend, or colleague.

Bookmark Creative Commons sites: The emergence of the internet spawned an innovation in copyright management called Creative Commons, which allows the creators of photos, videos, and text to apply transparent copyright rules and make the content available broadly. The Creative Commons search tool is invaluable for finding content you can use legally. Also bookmark sites that collect images, videos, or text that is shared under liberal Creative Commons rules—like FlickrPixabay (images, videos, and music), and Unsplash (photos); Noun Project (icons and photos); and Bensound, which has a library of free audio files—in addition to higher-quality files you need to purchase. Share the bookmarks with your students.

Use resources from government sites: NASA, the National Archivesthe Smithsonianprimary sources from the Library of Congress, and materials from state or local government agencies are a treasure trove for teachers.

Know that there isn’t an urgency exemption: No matter how desperate the situation or noble your intentions, don’t purchase a worksheet, or material online and then make and distribute copies of it or entire books, workbooks, study guides, practice books, or even an entire page from a textbook. Purchase enough copies or licenses for each student, or obtain permission from the owner to make copies or utlize the item with more than the original purchaser.

Avoid copying and distributing “creative material”: Novels, plays, movies, and poems and online material from pay sites like Teachers Pay Teachers are far more likely to be exempt from fair use.

Use published sources: Never copy and distribute unpublished material.

When in doubt, reach out: If a publication or resource you need is out of print and you cannot buy it (e.g., an out-of-print book), reach out to the publishing company and ask permission to make copies or distribute a purchased item to multiple people.

Plan ahead: Don’t wait until the last minute and use something in haste.

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