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Internet Law


This page was created to help students to understand and abide by the laws, school policies, and acceptable use policies concerning the internet and other various media.

Is copying and pasting from the Internet legal?
Basically, assume that all internet material is copyrighted unless it is a government or court document, or it states otherwise.  You must always cite your sources to avoid plagiarism, but is this enough?  Probably not.  You should also gain permission to use the source.  Generally, sending a simple e-mail to the webmaster requesting permission to use the source will be enough to begin the process. 
Additional Information:
Can the school district restrict what I do on the internet without violating my right to freedom of speech in America?
Yes.  In fact, currently the law requires that schools filter what you can access on the internet.  Since you are provided access to digital technologies for educational uses at school, they can legally limit and monitor your use of these resources.  The school can also limit your freedom of speech if they can show that there is a reasonable threat of school disruption, threat of violence, or harm to other's rights.  However, opinions that others might not like, or that they might find objectionable in some way, are not cause to restrict your rights.  Please note that the use of profanity and sexual language is not protected under your right to free speech.
Additional reading:
Do laws and the district code of conduct apply to my school and home internet and e-mail use? 
It depends.  If you do something illegal, then the law applies.  If you do something that is damaging to the school district, its personnel, or other students, then the district code of conduct and/or the law may apply. - This is a case in which a middle school student created a website about his teacher and principal at home and was taken to court over it.  He lost and had to pay the teacher $500,000.00 and the principal got an unmentioned amount of money also. 
There is also the case of Boucher v. School Board of School District of Greenfield in which a high school student made a website on how to hack the school computer system.  Hacking is now a crime under the Patriot Act of 2001.  The student was suspended and lost his case in the courts.
What should I not put on the internet?
Never post your address, phone number, full name, or any other personally identifiable information without your parent's consent.  Revealing these kinds of information online could potentially place you and others in danger.  Websites can't legally collect any of this kind of information from anyone under the age of 13.  This is part of a law called the Children's Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA).  Check out the following link to learn more.
Additional information :  (It's a cool site!)
Can students perform, for school, copyrighted music or act out a story from a movie or book without having to get copyright permission?
The answer is, "yes."  Under Title 17, Chapter 1, Section 110(4) of US Copyright Law, this can be done unless the copyright holder objects in writing at least 7 days before the performance.  Furthermore, admission may even be charged as long as the profit is used for educational or charitable purposes.