• Not all of these apply equally to school library Web sites,as Kennedy says the more you know, the less likely you areget in trouble.• Those who have worked with Web page design andconstruction have probably violated copyright law in someway. Just as a review, the copyright holder has 5 rightsgranted by law:
The right to reproduce the copyrighted work.The right to prepare derivative works basedon the work.The right to distribute copies of the work tothe public.The right to perform the copyrighted workpublicly.The right to display the work publicly.
Copyright issues and the Internet remain somewhat murky withseveral key issues not yet adjudicated. Most of us have lookedat what we consider to be good Web sites and, following the oldadage, “why reinvent the wheel,” have borrowed content andgraphics from the site.
Unfortunately most of us did not ask the Webmaster’spermission and may have received a letter or e-mail askingeither credit be given or that the content be removed fromthe Web site.Many of these unresolved issues deal with links and images,and there are a lot of corporate lawyers waiting to tell you to“cease and desist”.
Unfortunately many educators feel if an image is used for educational purposes it falls under fair use and is not subject to copyright law. Two examples should banish the notion:• Your Web page’s theme is ideal for some Bugs Bunny images so you find some on the Warner Bros. site and copy them for use on your Web page. Warner Bros. attorney will send you a polite but firm letter to cease and desist very soon after the page is posted.
• As a school librarian you want to provide links for your administrators, teachers, students, or even parents to purchase concert tickets without having to use Ticketmaster’s site. Again, Ticketmaster lawyers will instruct you to remove the links or face legal action.
Three First Amendment issues can get you in some legal hotwater. The first of these is less applicable to school librariesthan other types of libraries, but the other two are definitelygeneric to school libraries.
1. Interactive discussion forums. These are just so full of legal issues that the best advice librarians can get is to not do them.2. Advertising. This is a large issue in most schools. The school district may have a policy addressing this issue but if they do not, do not advertise for products. You may find yourself in trouble when you need to refuse to advertise a product that would not be suitable to sell over your Web site.
3. Accessibility. Suffice to say school districts are bound by ADA guidelines for accessibility on Web sites just as its physical facilities are bound by ADA.