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When Can You Use or Produce Someone Else's Work?


A guide to copyright and Fair Use from the Wellesley High School Library

The Three Conditions

So I'm a teacher, and I'm using this book/video/painting/etc. for a class. It's okay for me to photocopy or show it in class because its for education, right?


Not necessarily...


It is permissible to use or reproduce someone else's work under one or all of the following three conditions:

1) The work is a part of the PUBLIC DOMAIN;

2) It falls under FAIR USE; or

3) You have PERMISSION from the copyright holder to use the work.


Can your use apply to at least one of these conditions? Look at the other pages on this guide to determine if it does, and find other steps you could take to prevent copyright violation.

Hear No Evil, See No Evil, Speak No Evil

Image Source: Bion Smalley (reprinted with permission).

For More Information

Have more questions? Ask the librarians:

Ms. J or Ms. DeGrace

Library (3rd Floor)

Sources for this Guide:

Butler, Rebecca. Copyright for Teachers & Librarians in the 21st Century. New York: Neal-Schuman, 2011.  

"Circular 21: Reproduction of Copyrighted Works by Teachers and Librarians." United States Copyright Office: A Department of the Library of Congress. August 24, 2014. Accessed May 6, 2015.  

Maureen and Mike Mansfield Library, University of Montana. "Is it a Creative Commons Work?" Public Domain and Creative Commons: A Guide to Works You Can Use Freely.

Simpson, Carol. Copyright Catechism II: Practical Answers to Everyday School Dilemmas. Denver, Colorado: Linworth, 2011.

Smalley, Bion. Cartoon. Bion Smalley. Accessed May 6, 2015.