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Below are answers to some legal questions you might have.

Sheila B., Exchange Gardener



In general, you may copy materials you have purchased for instructional use in "face to face" teaching situations, provided you are not trying to AVOID buying the right number of resources.  So no, you can't make 10 copies of a worksheet from a curriculum publisher who sells packets of worksheets, unless their materials give you the permission.


You MAY use videos in face to face teaching situations, regardless of the dire warnings provided by the FBI Warning, or licensing websites. "face to face teaching situations" are Federally protected/exempted use.  Please note: "worship" is considered a public performance, not a teaching situation. Publicly "performing" (showing) a video is copyright infringement, unless you buy a license. Same with music.


You can copy lessons from because we've given you the permission to do so. However, you may not POST copyrighted material to our site without the original author's/publisher's permission.


You may post or otherwise create and distribute summaries, extracts, and generic simplifications of lessons, recipes, and descriptions of copyrighted materials. You just can't distribute/post the author's unique way of expressing their ideas/concepts.  Words and ideas are not copyright-able. The unique description of ideas is copyright-able!


Likewise, you may not copy published lessons from "not free" lessons and give them to your teachers in an effort to save money or to not have to buy the correct number of copies.  You can make a copy of a lesson resource you own to give to a teacher, and keep the original for yourself, because that's "fair use" archive/preserve the original.


However, you cannot borrow a lesson purchased by "the church down the street" and make copies of multiple lessons for your own use. That's unfair use which "harms" the author's right to make a living.   "FAIR USE" and "HARM" to the author's right to make a living from their works are historic copyright principles.  Biblical ones too!


Beware of YouTube

Video and music from youtube may be illegally posted and infringing the producer's copyright. Access does not equal permission.


Out of Print does not mean "out of copyright."

Just because you can't find a resource to buy for yourself, doesn't mean you can copy it from another copy.

Last edited by Wormy the Helpful Worm
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Unless you own multiple copies of a software CD, or own a site license purchased with the CD, then it is ILLEGAL to install one software program to multiple computers


You have the right to make a 'back up' copy of any software program for safe keeping.


You can LOAN software, as long as it no longer physically exists on your computer. If the person you loaned it to does not erase it from their computer when they give you the CD back, then they have violated the law, and you have helped them do it.


If you are given a computer without an operating system installed, it is illegal to install a copy of Windows, for example, from your own computer's CD.  The only exception to this is IF your church has a "site license" from Microsoft Windows. Then you can install the same version of Windows to your Sunday School computer as you have in your church office because they are both part of the same site.


When you purchase software, you are only purchasing the RIGHT to USE the software, not the right to distribute it to extra computers. 

Last edited by Wormy the Helpful Worm
This is an answer to a question about the copyright on a recipe.

There is a ton of help with copyrights on the web.

You cannot copyright a list of ingredients.
You cannot copyright common instructions, such as "mix for 3 minutes."

You cannot copyright a name such as "Prodigal Pancakes"'s too common. But you could copyright a name such as "Patties Pretty Prodigal Pancakes for Pentecost." On the other hand, if you operated a restaurant called "Prodigal Pancakes" then nobody else could use that name --because it is your trademark.

You CAN copyright "uniquely creative" wording in the recipe. But anybody can read the recipe and create a simple description of it and then distribute it.

Copyright laws are designed to protect unique creative work, not common english descriptions.

If you get a recipe from a CE resource, you would need to simplify it in your OWN words. It would be polite to cite your inspiration, but no one can own a list of ingredients. (That's why companies like Coke seek to protect their "secret forumulas" can't copyright a formula. However, you can "patent" a unique process that uses that forumla. But patents and copyrights are two different things.)

Neil "the guy who has spent way to much time researching copyrights"

[This message was edited by Exchange Gardener on August 09, 2003 at 08:40 PM.]
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Question was about sharing software.

I have been asked this question before and thus spent time reviewing the license/copyright agreements that come with many of the CDs my company recommends and sells.

It is PERFECTLY LEGAL to transfer ownership of most CE software from one church to another provided that they are completely transfering the material, and not keeping a backup copy or allowing material from a CD to remain on a computer. I have encouraged church resource centers to have software for loan and work with many that do just that.

The idea of reselling your CE resources makes good sense, provided you are sure you won't need them again. Personally, I've taught with the Paul CD three times in four years, Daniel twice, Birth of Jesus twice, Life of Jesus at least four times, Moses twice and Ruth/Sam/Jonah twice.

Many programs are very reuseable, such as Life of Christ, others are less reuseable and thus less appealing as a purchase if all you plan to use them in is your class. But why not loan then into your homes?

The largest reported hurdle (re: reselling/loaning) seems to be the mechanics of lending/borrowing/reselling. Setting a price, getting paid, getting it back if loaned, getting it back in working condition (CDs are unfortunately easy to damage) are often not worth the effort to harried staff or busy volunteers. I've heard of several churches and regional groups of Rotation churches which have tried to circulate "media boxes" that also included videotapes, etc. The management hassles, missing or incomplete pieces were their downfall. A group of Methodist churches tried this in Minneapolis with mixed results --and most of their materials were bought by a grant!

The other hurdle seems to be incentive. Most computer labs are relatively small, only two or three computers. The true dollar impact of having 3 copies of Daniel hanging around being only $45, they are rather disinclined to worry about trading/reselling.

The cost of software (not to mention hardware) IS DEFINITELY an impediment to its widespread use in Christian education. And yet, CE software is hardly inflated in price considering the enormous expense of making interactive software (which I can personally attest to) and the very small market conditions which currently exist. The Daniel CD you mention cost in excess of $50,000 to make and never sold more than 2000 units a year in its three year run.

We based our own Good Samaritan CD price on this kind of market reality. Prior to making it, we asked dozens of church educators whether or not they'd like to have IN-DEPTH CDS on key stories of the Bible, or CDs that cover MANY stories, but with less multimedia depth. Overwhelming they asked for IN-DEPTH and higher quality multimedia. A CD-ROM only holds 650 megabytes worth of data. It's all but impossible to make ONE CD cover many stories and give each high quality interactive content.

My personal feeling is that lending and reselling is a good idea --and that as the number of churches buying software increases, the cost per CD will decrease. The Daniel CD you mention originally sold for $30, then $25 and is now only $15. Indeed, were our Good Samaritan CD produced in 1996, it would have retailed for about $45, not the current $27 price. So I think we're headed in the right direction.

Still....computing in CE is not for the understaffed or underbudgeted --something I've been consistently saying for many years.

I regularly help church computer labs think through their software purchases. I encourage churches to think carefully about how their lab sizes will impact software purchases. Perhaps someday we might even be in the financial position of creating our own lending library at Sunday School Software Inc. I know that many of us want more choices and better CE software. That takes serious money. So unless one of you wants to underwrite our operation....

<>< Neil MacQueen

[This message was edited by Exchange Gardener on August 09, 2003 at 08:42 PM.]
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