In a world of information at our fingertips, the big question is: just because we can find it and share it, should we? As educators, it is important to model academic integrity with how we share information with our students.

Being clear on what we can share and how to give credit to authors is an important step in modeling for the next generation the importance of adhering to copyright and fair use laws. Simply providing a citation when using others’ work in the classroom is not enough.

What is fair use? Some educators have the misconception that because they are not “selling” the material, they are free to use it for “educational purposes.” This is not the case. Fair use means that there are limited reasons for why and how a person can use copyrighted material without first obtaining permission from the author/creator.

There are four factors to consider (Starr, 2010):
1. Purpose and character of use (ie., nonprofit educational purposes)
2. Nature of copyrighted work
3. Amount and substantiality of what is being used in reference to the whole
4. Effect on value or potentiality of the copyrighted work

ICTI-150, Copyright and Fair Use in the Classroom, offers a wealth of information in order to equip educators with what is needed in modeling best practices of copyright and fair use.


Starr, L. (2010, May 25). Is fair use a license to steal? Retrieved April 2, 2018, from

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