"The copyright law states that anyone
who violates any of the exclusive rights of the copyright owner ...is
an infringer of the copyright or right of the author.”
a teacher, can I be sued for infringement?
YES! The blanket of Fair Use does not protect
you or your school district from a lawsuit when you have blatantly
disregarded the rights of an author, musician or any other copyrighted
materials. A good book to read would be the Lee Wilson's text
Use, Free Use and Use by Permission.
In this book, Wilson reviews several scenarios of how copyrighted
materials are used by ordinary people in what seem to be, ordinary
ways. These stories can be the best indicators to whether you are
properly using copyright materials or are infringing on someone's
my school protect me if I am named in a lawsuit?
NO. As a matter of fact, your school will
probably be named in the lawsuit as well because the district has
more funds to satisfy the lawsuit. So may not only be sued, but loose
your job as well.
It is as much your obligation to stop infringement
as a teacher as it would if you saw a student stealing. Everyone can
learn about the process of copyright and respect the intellectual
property of others.
What if I am being
sued for infringement?
As stated in Frankel's book The
Teacher's Guide to Music, Media, and Copyright Law,
if a teacher has tried, "in good faith" to follow the
Fair Use procedure the court may find you have stretched the Fair
Use clause but not infringed. However if you have received a letter
of suit, contact the lawyer or owner of the property to see if you
can make corrections to your error. Most suits are settled out of
court. If there seems to be any apprehension on the part of the
owner to settle, call your lawyer. Be honest, and give as much information
to your lawyer as you can. They can possibly get an offer of settlement
that was not offered to you.