A Message from the Webs that Work Team

  •  Throughout each year the Webs that Work team provides assistance with a number of copyright infringement notifications involving teacher websites.  Many times, we find that owners of copyrighted materials give districts an opportunity to remove the materials without being subject to fines, however we have also seen cases in which the school district was fined and/or sued.  Below are some reminders about the importance of following copyright laws along with tips for removing files from your Schoolwires website.  The pages on the left navigation will provide you with even more details about this topic.  We recommend that you become familiar with Copyright Laws as well as Creative Commons and the various license types.

    Here are a few examples of issues we have seen:

    • Many teachers subscribe to vendor web sites that provide instructional materials.  These vendors allow subscribers to post materials behind a password protected page while the subscription is active.   Once the subscription expires, the files must be removed from the website.   In a recent situation, we found that although teachers were deleting the pages containing links to the files, they did not delete the actual file, which is stored in the section Files & Folders.  
    • Often website editors "borrow" materials that they find on the web for use on their district web page/teacher site.  Such materials might include presentations, images, audio/video and most commonly, instructional materials such as practice exams, answer keys, worksheets, and more.   In a recent situation, we were contacted after a vendor found their sample exams and corresponding answer keys being used without permission.
    • Images are all over the internet.  It can be hard to determine which are safe to use and which are not.  In one case, a teacher used an image that they found by doing a web search.  This teacher was able to right-click, save the image to the local machine and upload it to the website.  Several months later, the owner of the image sent a bill to the district for several hundred dollars.

    These are a few, very specific examples.  There are many other situations involving copyright that can take place.  In an effort to help our districts, we put together a list of tips for your review.

    Tips for Website Editors/Teachers:

    • If a page is inactivated or deleted, the file is still accessible through a web search.  In order to remove this file from the site, it must be deleted from the workspace Files & Folders.  Files & Folders are located under the Tools tab.
    • Be sure to check your Files & Folders on a regular basis.  Remove any unused or outdated files.  Sort your files by clicking on the "modified" heading over the date column.  This will help you find the oldest files quickly.
    • Be sure to empty the Recycle Bin when you are finished deleting pages.
    • Some materials are available for purchase, while others are free.  Either way, be sure to check and carefully follow the terms of use posted for any items you intend to use on your website.
    • We recommend using the File Library App when posting any type of file attachment.  The File Library App will allow each file that is posted to be password protected and it will not be viewable in a search.

    Please feel free to share this information with your teachers, staff, and any other editors who might benefit.  If you have any questions about the website tips, please contact the Webs that Work team at wtw@e1b.org.