Q.  Our school purchased iPod shuffles for use with reading groups in first grade. Last year we recorded one book onto each iPod shuffle and checked it out to low readers as a “trial” program. This year, teachers have recorded all kinds of books and reading materials onto the shuffles. As an example, there  is a reading series purchased by the district that is accompanied by tapes and cd’s which a teacher has “loaded” onto an iPod. Other teachers want the iPods so they can “load” whatever books they have in print and cd form. What are the guidelines as far as digitally changing the format of material? If we purchased iPods instead of cd players and there is no “iTunes store” download available for purchase, are we ok?

A. All of the recording activities you have indicated require prior permission.  Unless the school district, when adopting a textbook and ancillary materials, negotiated duplicating rights, the fact that recordings were purchased, doesn’t give the right to make copies.  The purchase of a book doesn’t give one the right to convert that book into another format  and then to make further copies of that format.  The act of making such copies potentially infringes the rights of the author for making copies of their works and being able to create derivative works based on their works.

In reference to iTunes, the use of the site and the downloading of content from that site is governed by the license one agrees to when using iTunes.  License agreements are contracts and contract law supersedes copyright.  iTunes only permits downloads to be used for personal use.  Even though a teacher or a school opens an iTunes account, this doesn’t grant the teacher or school additional privileges.  However, unless there are further restrictions stated on the site, materials purchased may still be eligible for claims of Fair Use and there still would be the opportunity to use portions according to various guidelines that exist, such as the Educational MultiMedia Guidelines or the Code of Best Practices in Fair Use for Media Literacy Education.