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copyright rules/ copying material form books for school curriculums

  • #1

    Need to get some info and feedback on this. I'm looking at making a school curriculum and like certain authors' work. I'm wondering how copying pages (say tactics puzzles) works in terms of copyright if I want to give out homework or make a diffinitive curriculum to throw into a binder would work. I've noticed some people on here say they like lev Alberts series for teaching so Im wondering if they make photocopies in those cases occasionally or if they've made something specific. Anyway any help or thoughts would be greatly appreciated thanks!

  • #2

    I don't think the positions are copyright, but you may run into problems if you use annotations and (verbal) explanations. Also, I don't think you should copyt complete collections.

  • #3

    It should be OK to copy the puzzles to use for teaching purposes, it is a completely different story if you copy them all and publish them in a book as your own.  

    In fact, they have probably included puzzles that have errors in them.  That way, when those same errors show up in your book, they can clearly prove that the puzzles were all copied, as opposed to worked out by yourself, or collected together by yourself.

  • #4


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  • #6

    Here's the thing - copyright is for image or text, but not ideas (that's what patents are for).  So... until someone patents the game of chess (note: a lot of chess variants are spawned on that very realization) or a particular solution, e.g., specific moves for N+B v K (not a very defensible patent), you can write it up solutions youself, including your own comments within the movetext, and it becomes no longer coverred by the copyright.  Lot of work, but that's how you get around it legally.  If you take the complete text of the solution, including the comments, then you can have a copyright issue.

    As for puzzle books, it's a little more dicey because the image of the puzzle might very well be be coverred by copyright to whoever thought it up.  Simple puzzles are not going to get any protection, but something really complex and specific could be a problem.  So that's where you want to be within the "education" safe harbor, meaning don't copy the whole book and put it in a binder.  Take individual puzzles, compiled from multiple sources, and organized according to your own curriculum, include the copyright safe harbor language, and make sure you don't publish or distribute it all in one go, and I think you should be OK.  But if you go passing out a complete manual for each kid, you need to err more on the side of picking a few pieces from many sources, rather than many puzzles from few sources. If you are only using a few of their puzzles, you might even ask the author for permission, as if their puzzles are good, the students will be able to see where they came from and buy their books for themselves.  That - in a world of proliferating chess puzzles - amounts to a bit of free advertising for the authors.  Some authors/publishers will go for it, others won't. 

    Put it in another context:  could you - as an english teacher - copy the NYTimes crossword puzzle and hand it out to your class without violating copyright law?  Well, for safe harbor purposes, it will depend, among other things, on whether you are making money on it (as in a private tutor), and whether you are doing it every day as the entire basis of your vocabulary instruction, or just using it once in a while to mix things up.

    Disclaimer - the foregoing is just a lay person opinion, and does not constitute actual legal advice. 


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