Technology Department News


In our new age of sharing, it can be easy to forget that copyright laws still apply.

This can be especially true in schools. After all, educators are trying to help students learn.

Copyright laws impact the use of images, videos and text. Frequently, schools use text, especially great stories, to help students learn. Many of these stories are still under copyright.

Even if our intent is good, we still must follow copyright laws. Unfortunately, copyright laws can be complex. Very complex.

General Copyright Dates

So, how do you know if the story that you want to use is under copyright? Here is a quick, general overview that may prove useful.

Created 1-1-78 or after When work is fixed in tangible medium of expression Life + 70 years1(or if work of corporate authorship, the shorter of 95 years from publication, or 120 years from creation2
Published before 1923 In public domain  None
Published from 1923 – 63 When published with notice3 28 years + could be renewed for 47 years, now extended by 20 years for a total renewal of 67 years. If not so renewed, now in public domain
Published from 1964 – 77 When published with notice 28 years for first term; now automatic extension of 67 years for second term
Created before 1-1-78 but not published 1-1-78, the effective date of the 1976 Act which eliminated common law copyright Life + 70 years or 12-31-2002, whichever is greater
Created before
1-1-78 but published between then and 12-31-2002
1-1-78, the effective date of the 1976 Act which eliminated common law copyright Life + 70 years or 12-31-2047 whichever is greater

Special thanks to Lolly Gassway for creating and sharing the table above. 

*Please note that if you purchased a copy of an asset (picture, song, video, text, book, story, etc.), it does NOT mean that you can then share that with everyone. “Purchasing” something normally means purchasing the right for one individual to use that piece of material. “Buying” something does NOT mean that you can do anything that you want with it.

Pinterest and Teachers Pay Teachers

Anything that is purchased from Teachers Pay Teachers is purchased with a specific copyright. Normally, that purchase includes the right to use it in that classroom. Teachers may NOT post the resource on the web. Teachers may NOT share it with another teacher.

Pinterest is filled with a wide variety of copyright. There is no general guidance other than one needs to check copyright carefully.


Generally, you can freely link to items on the web. Downloading, scanning, copying or otherwise having control of the item is where you need to know about copyright.


Copyright is generally in force once an item is created. Some publishers choose to copyright their material in a way that can be reused. The most popular way for authors to do so is through Creative Commons.  There are different license types that you should be aware of:

Creators choose a set of conditions they wish to apply to their work.

Attribution Attribution (by)

All CC licenses require that others who use your work in any way must give you credit the way you request, but not in a way that suggests you endorse them or their use. If they want to use your work without giving you credit or for endorsement purposes, they must get your permission first.

ShareAlike ShareAlike (sa)

You let others copy, distribute, display, perform, and modify your work, as long as they distribute any modified work on the same terms. If they want to distribute modified works under other terms, they must get your permission first.

NonCommercial NonCommercial (nc)

You let others copy, distribute, display, perform, and (unless you have chosen NoDerivatives) modify and use your work for any purpose other than commercially unless they get your permission first.

NoDerivatives NoDerivatives (nd)

You let others copy, distribute, display and perform only original copies of your work. If they want to modify your work, they must get your permission first.

Previous Posts about Copyright

Music and Copyright