Materials Use

Real World Materials, Fair Use,
Duplication and Intellectual Property

P-P-T’s Voz Alta approach prioritizes the use of real world materials as curriculum over materials produced specifically for language learning. This creates special concerns for us, especially since we sometimes sell our programming, we intend to sell the materials, and we are asking people to pay us to learn how to use real world materials in their own practice.

Practitioners: you are legally responsible for the materials you bring into the classroom or give to your learners. P-P-T is responsible for the materials we put on our website that we require you to use or that we provide for you to use in the classroom.

First Things First: Free things are free! Try these:

If it’s copyrighted, here are some short guidelines:

  • Duplication – Anytime we use something that is photocopied exactly or downloaded from the internet and duplicated, there is more risk
  • Purchase – Anytime we use something that we’ve purchased, it’s not risky at all.
  • Creative Commons – We are encouraged to stick with internet-based items that are explicitly allowed to be used (such as open license or commons license)
  • Transformative – If you use a reproduction of something that is substantially altered, quoted, not recognizable as part of the original work, or reworked into something that is obviously different in purpose and form, there is less risk. That includes photographs.

Let’s talk about photocopies a little bit. For the most part, when teachers are teaching classes that are free, especially when they are apprentices in the training program, making photocopies of worksheets or pages in books or downloading pictures from the internet for limited classroom use with no financial gain is not very risky – especially when that use is not what was originally intended.  So, if you copy a recipe from a famous chef’s recipe book and use it for language learning, that’s in the safer zone, even if they go home and use it for its intended purpose. But if we started using that chef’s recipe book and photocopied page after page, and essentially gave away the entire book, such that people started taking our classes so they could get the book for free (or even worse, were paying for our class and getting the book through us) – that would be pretty clear copyright infringement.

Photocopying a recipe from a chef’s book to use for language learning is LESS RISKY than photocopying a page from a book designed for ESL.

Companies or organizations may find it beneficial that we are showing their logo or product in our classrooms (which brings up some different ethical issues). P-P-T may in the future approach companies to specifically allow us to use their created materials in our curriculum and classrooms.

These pages are very helpful for determining fair use:

Guidelines for Fair Use from the University of Texas. There is no date on this, and we can’t assure the legal accuracy, but it’s clear and it matches a lot of other information available.

Fair Use Analyzer and Copyright Decision Map. Helpful and consistent with the above!