Scanning books for classroom presentations

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  • Can you help clarify how a teacher might be able to use technology to help present a book to her classroom of students? Is it legal for a teacher to scan all or a limited portion of a book to include in a powerpoint presentation to her class as they are studying that book? The intenet is to have a larger image to view and discuss both the illustrations and certain text portions of the text as a class and the ability to view and highlight a larger, projected image.
  • hbertsch,

    It seems to me that this falls under the guidelines of Section 110 of the US Copyright Law (

    I would argue that it is almost certainly legal to copy (scan) a limited portion of a book to use in PowerPoint presentations to a class. I do not think that scanning the entire book would be considered acceptable under US law. (In more detail, the law says that the copy used in the classroom must be legally obtained, and I do not think it's clear that scanning a whole book, especially for use other than personal use, is legal.)

    If anyone else has experience or better knowledge about this, please chime in!

  • JMiller is correct that scanning the entire book is a copyright infringement and a limited pages (3 or 4) probably is not enough for the teaching situation. However, if the teacher was to use a projection device that allows her to place the physical book on/in the device to project the image that would be perfectly legal since it in no way changes the original. In the 'old days' these were called opaque projectors but there are a variety out on the market that perform this and other useful functions. Good Luck!
  • Like MKardick mentioned, if you had a document projector, you'd have a pretty clear use of educational exemptions in a face to face course as well as a pretty strong fair use case. Conversion to digital media is what makes this complicated, because the use of copyrighted digital materials is more restricted than their analog counterparts.

    You can try to use the educational exemption for digital materials provided in the TEACH Act (which limits you to smaller portions of the work). The requirements to take advantage of the educational exemptions are significant If you don't have the resources, you should probably go with fair use. A good description of the educational exemption involving digital materials is found here:

    This page offers a good interpretation of the TEACH Act describing when you are authorized to digitize materials for the classroom and what requirements are part of that digitization:

    Note that you can still claim fair use even when you can't meet those requirements. If you don't want to deal with the TEACH Act, then for fair use, less is better.

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