St. Mary's County Public Schools (SMCPS) supports the rights of copyright holders as dictated by the Copyright Act of 1978.  SMCPS recognizes that copyright covers published and unpublished works.  It is important that students are taught about copyright and fair use especially in our digitally connected world. Copyrighted materials can be reproduced in moderation when used for news reporting, teaching, research, and criticism.  This is known as "Fair Use" as determined by Section 107 of the U. S. Copyright Act. In order to determine fair use

Four areas of the fair use reproduction need to be considered:

The four factors judges consider are:

  • the purpose and character of your use
  • the nature of the copyrighted work.
  • the amount and substantiality of the portion taken, and
  • the effect of the use upon the potential market.

It is the responsibility of the classroom teacher and the school library media specialist to collaborate on lessons that teach ethical use of information and plagiarism. Citing sources is important so you don't represent someone else's words as your own.  Web sites like Easy Bib, Citation Machine and Noodle Tools are available to help students create a bibliography for works cited.

To learn more, visit