When reproducing (copying) material, when is obtaining copyright permission required?
Sold or Distributed Works
Fair use does not apply when the materials are sold or distributed to students. Any classroom copies made and distributed by a commercial copy center require copyright permission.
You must obtain permission from owners of unpublished work in order to copy and/or distribute that work to your students. The law gives automatic copyright protection to unpublished works from the time they are created until they are published.
Certain specialized materials such as photos, maps, diagrams and drawings are copyrighted separately from the book or publication in which they appear. You must obtain permission to reproduce these items as distinct copyrighted materials.
Teachers must secure prior written permission before making multiple copies of copyrighted materials which are intended to be used in classroom activities, such as workbooks, exercises, or standardized tests and their answers.
When reproducing (copying) material, when is obtaining copyright permission NOT required?
You DO NOT need to obtain copyright permission for selections covered by Spontaneous Use. Spontaneity means that you will use the item so near in time that it would be unreasonable to expect a timely response to a request for permission.
For example, if an article applicable to your class appears in a newspaper, you may distribute that article to your students on the same day. If you plan to reuse the item in the future, you must request copyright permission.
You DO NOT need to obtain copyright permission for any material published in English prior to 1923. Those items are public domain. Materials published in other countries prior to 1923 are not covered under United States public domain, and require copyright permission to reproduce.
Federal, State or Local Government Publications
You DO NOT need to obtain copyright permission for any material published by the Federal, State or Local Government, unless expressly indicated on the material.