I am a public school teacher and have a question about software we purchased at least 15 years ago for use on our school computers. Approximately 10 years ago the software company stopped producing the software. Within a couple of years the company was bought out by another company. The software in question is also not produced by the new company. My question: Can I make copies of the old software and distribute to my students for use in my class? This would be done at no charge to the students.
1 Answer from Attorneys
Under copyright law, it would be an infringement of the rights of the copyright owner to duplicate his or her work and then distribute those copies. There are some "fair use" execptions for educational use of copyright-protected material, but this would not likely fall into those situations and therefore still be an infringing use.
The Copyright Office has a helpful Circular that lays out the guidelines for use of copyrighted works by educators: http://www.copyright.gov/circs/circ21.pdf.