The Copyright Quiz
Which of the following scenarios are correct?
1. I found a book written in 1994 that I really like. I did some research and found out that it was never registered with the U.S. Copyright Office, therefore I am free to copy it.
2. I found a long narrative poem written in 1989 that I really like. I'd like to write a novel using this poem as the basis. I'm sure it's OK to do this because the author of the poem will like the publicity my novel will give it.
3. I am writing my college thesis on the history of homeschooling in the U.S. I need to use the full text of two chapters out of one of Mary Pride's books to put into the thesis. As long as I give Mrs. Pride full credit, I'm sure it's legal for me to do this.
4. I bought a Saxon math text, but it doesn't have the answers in it. My friend has the answers in her edition of this Saxon text so I'll just photocopy the answers. As long as I don't copy any of the actual math text, I'm legal.
5. I borrowed an Easy Grammar workbook from my friend. I only need about a quarter of the book -- my child already knows most of the stuff in that book -- so I'll photocopy only the part I need. As long as I only copy this little bit, I'm OK legally.
6. I'm really in need of an article right now -- my deadline is tomorrow. I'm going to incorporate parts of so-and-so's article into mine. I know that so-and-so never bothers to register his copyrights with the U.S. Copyright Office so he can't sue me even if he does find out.
7. This book I bought at the homeschool convention doesn't have the © symbol in it or say "copyright" anywhere. It must be in the public domain and I can photocopy it.
8. I designed a web site for a company. The contract I signed with them says something about "work for hire" but I don't understand all that legal talk. I designed the web site so I deserve to own the copyright.
9. I really like the song "The Lion Sleeps Tonight" by Rockapella. I found a free copy of it on a web site, so that must mean it's in the public domain and I can freely copy it.
10. I am in charge of the homeschool co-op science class. There are 10 students and I need each student to have a copy of two chapters out of Jay Wile's biology book. I'll go ahead and make the copies I need. As long as I don't charge the students for the copies, but just give them away, I'm OK legally.
11. Somebody posted on their web page an entire chapter out of Cathy Duffy's new curriculum review book 100 Top Picks for Homeschool Curriculum. Since it was posted on somebody's web page that must mean it's OK for me to reprint that same chapter in my homeschool newsletter.
12. This book I really like is out-of-print. It's OK for me to copy it since it must be in the public domain.
13. My nonprofit organization is having a meeting tonight and I need everyone to read a chapter out of this book, which was published last year. Since I'm using it for nonprofit educational purposes, it's OK for me to make the copies.
14. I found this poem which I know was written some time last year. I'd like to reprint it in my newsletter, but I can't find the copyright holder. Since I have made a sincere effort to locate the holder, I am free to use the poem.
15. I found this poem which I know was written some time last year. I'd like to reprint it in my newsletter. I wrote to the copyright holder but never heard back from them. Since I have made a sincere effort to get permission from the holder, I am free to use the poem.
16. I bought a math workbook. Since I paid good money for it I have the right to make copies of it.
17. I bought a math workbook. I'm going to make two copies of it for my two kids and then I'll sell the original copy on eBay.
18. I just wrote a book and I want to establish proof of copyright, so I'll mail a copy of it to myself and leave the envelope unopened.
19. I hired my neighbor to photograph my daughter's wedding. We didn't sign any type of contract or make any agreements beforehand. I own all those photos and can do whatever I want with them.
20. I belong to a Yahoo group that shares files -- members scan in the books/curriculum we own, upload the files to the Yahoo group, and then everybody in the group can share. We can do this because no money changes hands, and besides that, homeschooling families are one income families and don't have much money to spend on curriculum.
21. I borrowed a book from the library that included a CD with extra materials on it. Since I got it at the library, I can legally copy the CD material and share it with my friends.
22. I bought an e-book online and downloaded it to my computer. I can copy and share this material with my support group because it is on my computer and belongs to me.
23. I want to write a book to share with my support group. I admire another homeschooling author who has the same view of the subject that I do. It would honor her for me to share her material, so I plan to use parts of her book in my book. Since she would be flattered that I am sharing her material, I don’t have to get permission. I’ll even send her a copy of my book to show her how much I like her material.
24. I bought an old copy of War by John Luther Long, illustrated by N.C. Wyeth, copyright 1913. I scanned in the four illustrations and am using these illustrations (with proper citations) in my new ebook. I am legally allowed to do this.
25. I borrowed from the library an old copy of War by John Luther Long, illustrated by N.C. Wyeth, copyright 1913. I scanned in the four illustrations and am using these illustrations (with proper citations) in my new ebook. I am legally allowed to do this.
Click here to see the answers.
Copyright © 2007 Harvey and Laurie Bluedorn, reprinted by permission.
Scenarios 1 through 23 are all incorrect. Scenarios 24 and 25 are both correct.
If you had trouble determining which scenarios were correct, please read more in our Educational Fair Use section.