According to Software Publishers Association, $157 to $209
million in K-12 software revenue were lost from 1993 through
1994 because of illegal copying in schools. These lost
revenues adversely affect schools because they compromise the
ability of software firms, especially small or young
companies, to create new products and offer K-12 customers
upgrades and support services.
Commandments of Computer Ethics,
COMPUTER ETHICS INSTITUTE
- Thou shalt not use a computer to harm other
- Thou shalt not interfere with other people's
- Thou shalt not snoop around in other people's
- Thou shalt not use a computer to steal.
- Thou shalt not use a computer to bear false
- Thou shalt not copy or use proprietary
software for which you have not paid.
- Thou shalt not use other people's computer
resources without authorization or proper
- Thou shalt not appropriate other people's
- Thou shalt think about the social
consequences of the program you are writing or the
system you are designing.
- Thou shalt always use a computer in ways that
insure consideration and respect for your fellow
COURTESY OF THE COMPUTER PROFESSIONALS
FOR SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY. USED WITH PERMISSION.
Federal law regulates the distribution and use of
commercial software under copyright and intellectual property
acts. The law protects the rights and livelihood of software
producers. Without a strong and competitive market, quality
software at a reasonable price is not possible. As a model
for your students, you can teach them proper software use by
your example and by discussing the law.
The Copyright Act sets forth four factors that courts are
to consider in determining whether copying of someone else's
work is permitted by the doctrine of fair use.
- Purpose and Character
The purpose and character of the copying,
including whether the use is of a commercial nature
or is for nonprofit educational purposes--i.e.,
copying for nonprofit educational uses will more
likely qualify as fair use.
- Nature of Work
The nature of the work being copied--i.e.,
copying from works that are primarily factual in
nature is tolerated more than copying from more
- Amount and Quantity Copied
The amount and substantiality of the portion
that is copied in relation to the copyrighted work as
a whole--i.e., the more that is copied, or the more
significant the portion that is copied (regardless of
the quantity) the less likely that fair use will
- Effect on Market
The effect of the copying upon the potential
market for or value of the copyrighted work--i.e., if
the copying has an adverse impact on the market for
the original work, it will not constitute fair use.
Besides fair use, schools also benefit from
some highly specific exemptions from copyright liability. For
example Section 110 of the Copyright Act provides several
specific limitations on the exclusive rights copyright owners
enjoy in their works. These limitations permit schools and
educational institutions to display and perform copyrighted
works under very specific circumstances.
In face-to-face teaching activities, Section 110(1) permits
instructors or pupils at nonprofit educational institutions
to perform or display copyrighted works so long as the work
is performed or displayed in a classroom or similar place
devoted to instruction. Even if these requirements are met,
Section 110(1) still prohibits educational institutions from
performing motion pictures and other audiovisual works in
face-to-face teaching if the person responsible for
performing the work knows or has reason to believe the copy
was not lawfully made.
The educational exemption for using copyrighted works
transmitted by any device or process is much more limited.
Section 110(2) permits nonprofit educational institutions and
governmental bodies to perform non-dramatic literary works or
musical works, or to display any copyrighted work, by or in
the course of a transmission, but only if the performance or
(1) a regular part of the systematic instructional
(2) directly related and of material assistance to the
teaching content of the transmission; and
(3) the transmission is made primarily for a copyrighted work
to be performed or displayed.