In the realm of student journalism, the work of student journalists is protected from copyright infringement under U.S. copyright law. However, for student journalists, these concerns are often flipped. It’s not as much about protecting your work from others, as it is figuring out whether you can legally use original material created by someone else.
This lesson will provide a basic introduction to copyright law to help you protect your own work and avoid costly penalties for copyright infringement.
In This Lesson
- Defining copyright
- Relevance to student journalists
- Copyright specifics
- How works are copyrighted
- Who owns a copyright?
- Getting permission to use a copyrighted work
- Penalties for violating copyright
[Click here to view and use the Google Slide Presentation “Copyright Law”]
Identify the Copyright Owner
In the case that you do ever need to contact the owner of a copyrighted work and it is not overtly obvious who that person is, navigating the U.S. Copyright Office Public Records Catalog is a handy skill to have.
In this activity students will get acquainted with this database, learn how it can help them avoid penalties for violating copyright, and practice reaching out to a copyright owner in writing.
[Click here to view and print the Google Doc handout “Identify the Copyright Owner”]
Create Your Own Newsroom Copyright Agreement
When it comes to student media and copyright ownership, the case of who technically owns the copyright to a work can become murky since there is no traditional employee-employer relationship in place. Student publications can avoid this confusion by creating a copyright agreement ahead of time.
Using the Student Press Law Center model copyright agreement as a template, take the time as a staff to read through the model, adjust it to your needs (if necessary), and store it in a safe place for future use.
[Click here to visit the Student Press Law Center model copyright agreement]