If you plan to make a Track, or if your Track has been put
on hold due to copyright
infringement, please read this.
A Track is a composite work based on other people's original online
creations. In Tracks with 2 to 5 links,
don't collect more than 2 of your links from one source. In Tracks with
6-15 links, don't collect more than 2 or your links from one source.
If you wish to do so, please get permission first. Tracks with possible
copyright infringement will be put on hold until they are corrected.
U.S. Copyright Law |
Our Policy on Intellectual Property |
When We Hold Tracks |
TrackStar's Copyright Compliance
U.S. copyright laws are intended to protect an author's right to obtain
commercial benefit from valuable work, and to protect the author's
right to control how a work is used. Most works are copyrighted the
moment they are written, and no visible copyright notice is required.
When educators make TrackStar Tracks, they are creating a composite or
derivative work, usually without the expressed permission of the
authors of the links. Many people make the argument that Web page
authors welcome links to their pages and give implicit permission for
this, but the courts have not yet ruled on this. When you make links
from one domain the main component of your Track (by linking more
than is allowable from one site), you run the risk of copyright
infringement. We suggest that in Tracks with 2 to 5 links, no more than
2 links can come from any one site. In Tracks with 6 to 15 links, no
more than 3 links can come from any one site. For more detailed
explanation on linking and copyright, we encourage you to read
by Brad Templeton.
Internet copyright has been strengthened recently in the
Digital Millennium Copyright Act. Most educators know most about
the "fair use" statute of copyright. Fair use laws are meant to allow
certain reproduction of work, in this case, for purposes of teaching
and scholarship. An educator requires four things to claim fair use
protection for copyrighted materials.
You need to adhere to all four to claim protection:
For more detailed information on fair use, see
Fair Use of Copyrighted Materials by the University of Texas.
- purpose - educational or commercial?
- nature of the work - educational or commercial?
- amount of resource used - 10% or 1,000 words (smallest of the
two) of a text-based item
- effect - will they lose money by you using it?
Note: Amount of resource used
From text resources, you may use 10% of the overall work, or 1000
words, whichever is smaller. The limit is still vague for
Internet resources, so choose responsibly. Some pages have 200
words, some have over 2000. We have no way of knowing what you'll
link to, or what percentage one page constitutes of the overall
site, which is why we provide the rough guideline of keeping a
third or fewer links in any Track to one site. Keep these print
guidelines in mind, because Internet copyright limits are still
unclear. The lack of clear Internet guidelines means you should err
on the side of caution.
TrackStar is designed to help students explore a variety of
sites related to a topic. HPR*TEC does not support breaking apart a
single site and placing its separate pages in a Track, even though this
might assist some students. It is better to link to the site
once, and use the annotation to direct students to different
parts of the site if needed. Some Webmasters tell us that multiple
links to their site in one of our Tracks would be a re-creation of
their work on our site, and that this would be perceived as theft of
their intellectual property. We provide the following rough guidelines
because of the continued ambiguity of U.S. copyright law concerning the
In Tracks with 2 to 5 total links, including
more than 2 of the Track's links to the same site is
considered copyright infringement.
In Tracks with 6 to 15 total links, including
more than 3 of the Track's links to the same site is
considered copyright infringement.
authors expressly forbid the linking of their sites, or
inclusion of their content in framesets, can not be included in
TrackStar. Some authors contact us directly when they notice
they have been linked to, and others place a notice on their
site. Please scan any potential resource for such information.
Exceptions to this policy are governmental
sites (.gov), your own personal Web site, and your own school's
Web site. Also, ThinkQuest, Quia and YouTube can be linked to more than
stated in this policy if the sites are created by different
Use your best judgment when collecting links, and know that we will
hold Tracks that have questionable copyright infringements. We
notify you of your Track's status if you have provided us with a valid
e-mail address. This is for your legal protection as well as ours.
While a Track is on hold, only the author can view it.
Given the aforementioned laws and current debates concerning the
Internet and intellectual property, we've done our best to design
and maintain TrackStar in a way that supports the rights of the
original site authors, while still empowering teachers to use small
amounts of online material to guide students through annotated
online lessons. To ensure this, we:
- review every Track for possible copyright infringement
put potentially infringing Tracks on hold until the Track
author edits them to comply with guidelines
comply with requests from content originators who do not
want their sites linked to TrackStar
include "Annotations by: Track author name"
in the Track title so that users know that the annotations
only, and not the link content, are authored by the Track's
offer both a text version and frames version for those with
concerns that framed Tracks may infringe upon copyright
offer the URL of every page in the annotations window, in
addition to the hyperlink itself
We attempt to keep abreast of Internet copyright advances so that
we can comply with them and help our users understand them. We
encourage teachers to know basic copyright statutes and model
responsible decision-making in their use of the Internet in the