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Got Copyright? Resources and Information About Fair Use in the Classroom and On-Line

by P.D. Lesko

IN 1842, CHARLES Dickens and his wife, Catherine, traveled to the United States. While trekking cross country, Dickens often spoke in support of an international copyright agreement. The lack of such an agreement enabled printers in the U.S. to publish his books without permission and without paying the Englishman any royalties.

This situation also impacted other writers, such as the American author Edgar Allan Poe. In England, Poe’s works were published without his permission.

Dickens first realized that he was losing income because of the lack of international copyright laws in 1837 when The Pickwick Papers was published in book form. Outside of England, the novel was reprinted without his permission and sometimes even imitated.
For those who teach on-line, finding and using resources posted to the Internet is an important part of course development. The Digital Millennium Copyright Act of 1998, protects those resources. The Copyright Act also protects and limits the liability of nonprofit institutions of higher education–when they serve as on-line service providers, and under certain circumstances, for copyright infringement by faculty members or graduate students.

This is a nifty little clause. It means that should a copyright holder sue you and the

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