Often, we assume that using published materials for classroom use is legal–and it is…to an extent. However, the guidelines for legal use are very specific.
Stanford University’s Copyright and Fair Use website provides an overview of current copyright law as relating to classroom teachers. (Scroll down to Section 5: Rules for Reproducing Text Materials for Use in Class – See more at: http://fairuse.stanford.edu/overview/academic-and-educational-permissions/non-coursepack/#sthash.CDgjRi8a.dpuf)
The pamphlet Reproduction of Copyrighted Works by Educators and Librarians from the government copyright office also offers detailed info about fair use for educators and librarians.
Because technology is changing so rapidly, these laws are in flux. Also because of technology, it’s easier to identify people who are violating these laws. At the least, make certain that everytime you use articles, info, graphics or even quotes from a source other than your textbook, you provide a citation so the students and parents know where it came from. Modeling fair use and responsible digital citizenship to our community helps establish our credibility and it reinforces to the students that they, too, should pay attention to using sources responsibly.