Copyright: the legal rights given to the creator of a work governing its use

The copyright holder must give permission to another person to allow them to legally copy, modify, and/or redistribute the work.

Fair Use Guidelines: Students and teachers may use other's work "for purposes such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching, scholarship, or research..." (Copyright Act of 1976).
However, the following guidelines must be "considered" when trying to determine whether one is violating copyright law or not:
1) The use of someone else's work must be for nonprofit educational purposes.
2) What is the nature of the work?
3) How much are you copying? The less you copy, the less likely you are to be sued.
4) Will your use of the material impact how much money the creator(s) of the work might make? For instance, if you put a copy of a song on YouTube, people may not feel the need to purchase that song since they can access it for free. Therefore, the singer and all those who produced the song, will make less money.

The Fair Use Guidelines do not give you the right to copy, modify, or redistribute other's work. They merely provide you with a defense in a court of law should the owner of the work decide to sue you.

For more information, click on the following link to the Copyright Office's Fair Use Overview:

A good animated video about Fair Use can be found here:

Confused or want more information about copyright? Check out this brief, creative video from Common Craft:

So where can you find good material that's NOT protected by Copyright???
Try the website links at Library Campground:

How to Protect One's Own Work or Give Other's Permission to Use It
You can get your work copyrighted by the by the U.S. Copyright Office at OR
go to and license your work in the manner in which you feel most comfortable.

Creative Commons
At Creative Commons you can license your work online to let others know under which circumstances you are allowing them to use it.
To view the six different licences you can use to protect/share your work, go to

Want more information pertaining to using Creative Commons or finding copyright-free work for your papers, projects, and more, go to this great website created by librarian guru Joyce Valenza:

AISD Acceptable Use Policy
For the most current AISD Acceptable Use Policy, go to
Take Our Quiz!