Intellectual property, copyright, and fair use in education
Academic Leadership - Online Journal,
Vol. 6 No. 4 (2005): Vol-6-Issue-4-April-2005
As with other rights, such as liberty and organization, intellectual property (IP) rights are often
overlooked or disregarded simply because they are intangible. Yet, IP rights are essential to the
workings of our society, and upholding them means greater freedom to invent, create, and advance.
IP is an emerging issue within the education arena. While many people think of it as a new concept, its
origins date back to the sixteenth century. In 1557, Great Britain began to awaken to the idea of
copyright, and the idea took firm root. The creators of the American Constitution included it in Article I,
with the purpose of giving an author exclusive rights to his or her own work and preventing others from
profiting from it. Very soon after, the United States Copyright Act was enacted in 1790, closely
modeled on a pre-existing British statute. Several changes and amendments were made to the Act —
most important, the 1976 Copyright Act, the one we effectively use today.