A copyright gives the author certain exclusive rights
to their work for a limited time. These include the right
to make copies of their work, to distribute copies of their work,
and to display their copyrighted work publicly.
An important thing to keep in mind is that even if a work doesn't
have a copyright notice, it is still probably copyright protected.
Settings and characters from a story also fall under the copyright
umbrella so if you use settings or characters from somebody else's
story, you need that author's permission first.
Fair use is an important part of copyright law
for educators to understand. Basically, the fair
use clause allows the copying of parts of a work without permission
when it is done to comment on the work, to teach about
it, or to study it.
Citation is another important aspect of copyright
that has to do with giving credit to the authors of creative
work. Whenever someone else's work is studied to help one
write, communicate, or make one's own piece of work, the original
work should be cited as a reference. A creative work can
be defined as something uniquely created by the author, photographer,
designer, etc. It is not just a listing of facts and it has to
be in some tangible form like written on paper, recorded on tape,
or photographed on film. It can include creative editing
or collecting of others' work in a unique way.
Below are links to some excellent
web sites dealing with copyright issues.