Sec. 107 of the Copyright Act of 1976 allows the fair use of a copyrighted work for criticism, comment, news reporting or teaching. Multiple copies of brief works may be made for classroom use if there is a short time lapse between deciding to use and actually using the copies. Federal guidelines allow teachers to make single copies for a class or for scholarly research. The following is a guideline summary.

Material that may be copied

  • Articles from newspapers or periodicals
  • Chapters from books
  • Complete poems if fewer than 250 words and printed on two sides or less
  • Articles, stories or essays of fewer than 2,500 words
  • One chart, graph, diagram, drawing, cartoon or picture from a book, periodical or newspaper

Material that may not be copied

  • Identical material for more than one course
  • More than one short poem, article, story or essay
  • More than two excerpts from the same author, or more than three from the same collective work
  • “Consumable” material, such as workbooks, exercises, standardized tests, answer sheets, etc.
  • The same material from term to term


Thank you for consulting our site for up-to-date information about the array of legal issues facing Texas public school teachers and related nonadministrative personnel. For further information of a general nature pertaining to these legal issues, TCTA members may submit general questions directly to our legal staff using our Ask-A-Lawyer form. Should you be a TCTA member with a specific legal problem, please contact TCTA headquarters at 888-879-8282 (a toll-free call in Texas) to speak by telephone with a staff attorney.