Copyright Basics: A Scavenger Hunt Activity

Welcome to our copyright scavenger hunt activity! Today, we will search the Internet for information about copyright laws including public domain and fair use. In this activity, you will answer questions like: What is copyright? Why is it important? What resources can I use? To complete this activity, visit each link and answer the questions provided. After you answer each question, check your responses with the correct answers provided on the answer key. No peeking! Happy hunting!

Learner Objective: To instruct secondary-age students about the basic of copyright law, public domain, and fair use

Activity Introduction & Instructions

Have you ever seen this symbol: ©? It means something is copyrighted and protected by copyright law. Copyright law protects the ownership of any original piece of expression. This piece of expression must be something tangible like a poem or painting to be protected by copyright law. Understanding copyright is very important in English class because you will work with so many original pieces of authorship and be expected to find and use online sources correctly. Your task now is to complete the scavenger hunt below and learn more about copyright law.

Copyright Basics [Use this source.]

  1. As the author of a copyrighted work, what do you have the right to do or to let others do?
  2. Why should you care about copyright law?
  3. What does it mean for a copyrighted work to be in a “fixed” form?
  4. What is copyright infringement?
  5. What penalties might an “infringer” have to pay?

Public Domain [Use this source.]

  1. What is public domain?
  2. Who owns works in the public domain?
  3. How do works arrive in the public domain?
  4. How might copyright law protect collections of public domain work?

Bonus: Does copyright law protect phrases like “Beam me up” and “Show me the money?” Explain.

Fair Use [Use this source. For more information on Fair Use, check out this source.]

  1. What is fair use?
  2. What is one important factor in determining whether your use qualifies as fair use?
Bonus: What two categories do fair use analysis fall into? Explain each.


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