I spend a silly amount of time (trying to) answer questions about copyright to instructors. Somebody along the way has put the fear of God into them about the perils of misusing resources, and as a result it has (in my view) crippled teaching. Since I know next to nothing about copyright do’s and don’ts, I generally summarise the rules like this:
1. copyright is a moving target
2. there is a black and a white zone, and lots of grey.
3. Stay out of the black, know what’s in the white, and in the grey do what is best for teaching and learning.
My own feeling is that we should be responsible to students, not publishers, and I have a strong desire to join the throngs of activists in the blogosphere who are pushing back on publishers and ‘owners’ of copyright for the purposes of education.
Although I recognize that the do’s and don’ts of copyright are a bit different up here in Canada, I’m happy to reference Blue Skunk‘s positive spin on addressing the whole copyright issue (via downes).