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How to Make Sure That You Are Not Breaking Copyright Laws When Home-schooling

By: Krystle Crossman

When you are home-schooling your kids you may try to find ways to get materials cheaper or for free to save a little money. This can get a lot of parents into trouble however because of copyright laws that many people are either not aware of or don’t fully understand. Here are some tips on copyrights and how to avoid doing something illegal.

1. If you buy the book or the software, you own it. This however does not give you the rights to distribute it to other people while you are still using it. This includes making copies of the pages and handing them out to friends. Likewise you should not be downloading software from anyone else and should not be using copies from a workbook that someone else bought.

2. If you have more than one child you still need to buy a workbook for each child unless the publisher gives you permission to make copies of the pages.

3. There is a difference between consumable and non-consumable materials. Non-consumable materials are books such as textbooks that do not have any pages that can be written on or books that are meant for reading only. A consumable text is a book such as a workbook that has pages dedicated to writing in answers. It is illegal to copy and distribute consumable books. You may copy it once and keep it as a back-up in case something happens to the original but it cannot be shared with anyone else. Even if your child did not write in the text, it still cannot be given to another person.

Here are some of the reasons that people disobey copyright laws even though they know it’s wrong:

1. The publishers charges far too much money for the books – There is a lot that goes into making school materials and this work needs to be paid for somehow. If you are offering a service such as photography you would set your prices higher than your costs to make a profit right?

2. I am making copies so I can resell the original – It is illegal to make copies of copyrighted books no matter what your intention is. This is especially true if you are buying it to make copies that you will use and then reselling it to someone else who should purchase a book for themselves.

3. The workbook was only partly used – If you are going to sell or give away a workbook that you have bought you need to take out the pages that have been used so that they are not used again. This is the only way that copyright laws will not be violated.

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