Melissa Rivera: Copyright, Fair Use, and Personal Rights and Privacy Toolkit


Using Technology with Classroom Instruction that Works Workshop

Photo credit: "Using Technology With Classroom Instruction That Works Workshop" by Education Plus is licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)

Tool Kit for Copyright, Fair Use and Personal Rights and Privacy

Technology provides many affordances in education from guidance and feedback to interfaces that offer  customized learning (Lai, Yang, Chen, Ho & Chan 2007). The educational possibilities are endless when computing power is coupled with resources found on the internet or in printed materials. However, technology in education and the use of copyrighted works pose several concerns for educators in terms of student privacy and reproduction of information for learning.  The following is a brief overview of the laws surrounding student privacy and the use of original works in education.

Personal Rights and Privacy

Technological advancements have not only changed the way in which educational institutions house student information but also the method in which learning is occurring. Contracting with third-party vendors for website and application services to deliver education raises many privacy concerns including  data collection for commercialization and compromising data for criminal activity (Peddy, 2017). The obligation to protect student privacy falls squarely on educators and educational institutions. The Children's Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA) was created to regulate the collection, use and disclosure of private information from children under the age of 13 by commercial and general website operators and service providers (Peddy, 2017). COPPA does not directly apply to educational institutions, however the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) created a school exception, which allows schools to grant permissible student data use to third-party vendors in place of parental consent as long as the data is used solely for educational purposes (Peddy, 2017).

Intellectual Property

Intellectual property (IP) is a term used to represent intangible works or creations of the mind that include written works, artistic renderings, names, and inventions (WIPO, 2017). Copyright is one category that falls under intellectual property. Under copyright law, the literary and artistic creations of authors and creators are protected from reuse and repurposing without the creator's consent (WIPO,2017). An original creator's basic rights under copyright law include exclusivity to use their work,exclusivity to grant permission to others to use their work, and the right to prohibit derivative works (WIPO,2017).

Fair Use in Education

Under U.S. Copyright Law, the fair use doctrine states that educators may use copyrighted material in their lessons without obtaining permission from the original content creator under certain provisions (American University Library, 2010). In the case of fair use, four factors must be considered prior to using copyrighted material in education, 1) purpose and character of use, 2), nature of the work, 3) substantiality of the portion of the work that is used, and 4) the effect of the use upon the potential market (American University Library, 2010). Educators can not claim fair use if they meet one of the four criteria state above nor can they be prohibited from claiming fair use because not all criteria are met (American University Library, 2010). There are nuances for each case that make fair use tricker than it seems.



There is legislation in place that directly affects the use of intellectual property within student assignments and in learning lessons prepared by faculty. Below please find resources to help further your understanding of intellectual property, copyright laws, fair use, and personal privacy.


The World Intellectual Property Organization offers this overview on intellectual property, patents, trademark and copyright:

Examples of intellectual property disputes can be found in the following link courtesy of



Bright Hub Education provides teachers with the basics of copyright law as it pertains to education and fair use in the classroom.

In this .pdf the United States Copyright Office details copyright law in terms of reproducing material for education



California State University provides some examples of common classroom scenarios under copyright and fair use.

Four factors to evaluate fair use in copyright



Student privacy: Requirements and best practices

Student privacy and Google Apps for Education (GAFE)


This toolkit was designed to provide information in different modalities in order to address the potential different learning styles of each user.  For example, there  are videos for auditory learners and articles, which include charts for visual learners. My intention was to be succinct in the introduction to encourage users to move on to the task page. I used bold type face to draw the eye to key words, which will help the user navigate to a particular subject matter more easily, if needed.


Considering how easy the internet makes it to locate and repurpose intellectual property it is vitally important that not only educators but students are well versed in the laws surrounding copyright and fair use. To directly address the issues, a curriculum on copyright and fair use in education should be mandated for all students (Rodriguez, Greer & Shipman, 2014). In light of the absence of this offering in some educational institution, I have chosen the resources in this toolkit to provide a comprehensive overview with examples.

The resources in this toolkit are from reputable sources including government organizations and higher education institutions. The information in this toolkit is up to date, addressing the legislative changes that have been adapted to include the challenges that digital information presents. 


This toolkit provides students and educators with valuable information regarding student privacy and the use of intellectual property in learning lessons and student assignments. In combination, the videos, articles and examples on the task page offer a comprehensive representation of each area of interest.

An additional resource that encourages sharing of creative works without negative legal implications is the use of Creative Commons materials. Creative Commons is a worldwide organization that encourages the sharing and reuse of creative works and knowledge materials by providing legal tools to protect authors and those seeking to reuse creative works (Creative Commons, 2017) . Authors of creative works can apply free copyright Creative Commons Licenses to their works that indicate the permissible uses of their works (Park, 2016). 


Creative Commons (2017, November 1). Frequently asked questions. Retrieved from

Lai, C. H., Yang, J. C., Chen, F. C., Ho, C. W., Chan, T. W. (2007). Affordances of mobile technologies for  experiential learning: The interplay of technology and pedagogical practices. Journal of Computer Assisted Learning, 23 (1) 326-337. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2729.2007.00237.x

Parks, J. (2016). What is creative commons and why does it matter. Common sense education. Retrieved from

Peddy, A. M. (2017) Dangerous classroom "app" -titude: Protecting student privacy from third-party educational providers. Brigham Young University Education & Law Journal, 1(1), 125-159. direct=true&db=tsh&AN=122342754&site=eds-live

Rodriguez, J. E., Greer, K., Shipman, B. (2014) Copyright and You: Copyright Instruction for College Students in the Digital Age. The Journal of Academic Librarianship 40(5), 486-491. 

World Intellectual Property Organization (2017). What is Intellectual Property. (WIPO publication No. 450(E)). Retrieved from 

What faculty need to know about copyright for teaching. American university library 2010. Retrieved from



Teacher Page

Guidelines When Using Copyright Material

The below link from BJU Press offers a guideline in bullet point form on the permissible uses of print, video, archival duplication, computer software, and multimedia in a face-to-face classroom setting.

Resource for Creative Works

Educators are habitually faced with challenges when deciding which digital content they can use in their lessons (Park, 2017). Creative Commons can help address some of these challenges by offering content that is clearly marked with reuse permissions that do not require attaining the original authors' expressed permission.

Digital Literacy for Students

Technical skills are important for today's student and equally important is teaching students the critical thinking skills necessary to understand online etiquette and proper social engagement. See below for a resource which overviews the importance of digital literacy in the classroom.