Educator's Guide to Intellectual Property,

Copyright and Plagiarism

This white paper was created by four graduate students in the Curriculum, Technology, and Education Reform (CTER) Masters of Education program at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign.

In conducting research and reflecting upon our own experiences, we encountered several problems with the current copyright laws and challenges for the educational community. Copyright laws are too vague and complex, are not a significant part of teacher preparation courses, and are not enforced in school systems. New technologies for reproducing and storing information have compounded the difficulty of enforcing existing laws, and teachers are mirroring society's disregard for ethical compensation of other's work. We believe that copyright law should be made clearer to promote understanding and widespread compliance by educators. We feel that the definition of "fair use" should be expanded to allow legitimate educational uses of copyrighted materials while still offering protection for and honoring the work of writers, artists, and composers. Finally, we recommend that universities and school systems strive to change the culture in the educational community as it relates to copyright law, following the example of librarians, whose profession has embraced ongoing self-education of existing and new copyright laws, and self-policing of copyright abuses.


Janeen McCarthy
Donna Lerch
Lynn Gilmore
Shellie Brunsman

Revised by (7/2/02)
Allison Drew
Maggie Valcik

The 2002 addendum by Teri Grant, Julia Jeffreys, Vicky Romano, & Kathy Schlappi

Additional Educator's Guides

 Educator's Guide to Access * Educator's Guide to Credibility and Web Evaluation
Educator's Guide to Free Speech * Educator's Guide to Privacy * Educator's Guide to Commercialism
Educator's Guide to Computer Crime/Technology Misuse