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NCTE Position Statement

Resolution on Fair Use of Copyrighted Materials

1980 NCTE Annual Business Meeting in Cincinnati, Ohio


Access to literary and linguistic materials is essential to effective language arts instruction. The 1976 copyright law contains a section which permits "the fair use of a copyrighted work" without the written permission of the copyright owner and further specifies that "fair use" includes reproduction "for purposes such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching (including multiple copies for classroom use), scholarship, or research."

Many publishers, however, now include excessively restrictive warnings in their publications. One example is the following:

All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced in any form by photostat, microfilm, xerography, or any other means, or incorporated into any information retrieval system, electronic or mechanical, without the written permission of the copyright owner.

Because such warnings inhibit the legitimate use of copyrighted materials, NCTE, as a member of the Ad Hoc Committee on Copyright Law, has directed a complaint to the U.S. Register of Copyright. Additional measures are needed. Be it therefore


Resolved, that the National Council of Teachers of English send to the Association of American Publishers and other appropriate groups a protest against the use of exaggerated copyright warnings and a recommended substitute form in keeping with the intent of the law;

     that NCTE independently request that the U.S. Register of Copyright refuse to register copyrights for works in which the published copyright warning exceeds the terms of the law; and

     that NCTE inform its members through its journals and other publications of their right to fair use of copyrighted materials.

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