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Copyrights & Fair Use

I'm sure you're all aware of copyrights and their importance in protecting the work of the creators of unique and innovative educational materials such as Coolmath.com and Coolmath Algebra.

Fortunately, for teachers and students there is something called "fair use."  Simply put, fair use is the exception that allows teachers and students to use (within some very restrictive guidelines) copyrighted materials for educational purposes in the classroom.  I've found that many teachers are unaware of the specifics regarding fair use of copyrighted materials like web sites.  ( I, too, was quite uninformed in this area until I started to do some investigating! )

For students, fair use is easy!  Students can use graphics and content all they wish (without permission) as long as it is for a class assignment.  The only restrictions are that the "borrowed" content cannot be displayed in a public forum such as a web site (e-portfolios come to mind here) without the permission of the copyright holder and the content cannot be put into a situation where it can be distributed or copied.  (Students cannot give the content to someone else for use.)

For teachers, it's a bit more complicated and MUCH more restricted.  To cut to the chase, the key is to never use anything that would cause the copyright owner to lose income.  For example, photocopying any portion of a textbook (or other book) for classroom use instead of buying copies of the book for each student.  Or downloading or printing a portion of a website for classroom use instead of visiting the site “live” so that the publisher can receive the income from the online ads.

Please understand that we can only afford to continue to maintain our websites and create new and innovation learning materials if we can be reimbursed for our time and expense.  The only ways we can be reimbursed are through the ads on our sites.  Your assistance in this area is greatly appreciated! 

For more information about copyrights and fair use, a good resource is from the Stanford University Library:

http://fairuse.stanford.edu/Copyright_and_Fair_Use_Overview/index.html

Thanks for your interest in Coolmath…  And thanks again for reading this.  We really appreciate teachers like you!

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