The need to protect intellectual property has always existed, perhaps even more so in the easy-access world of the electronic age. As the recording industry has shown, some copyright owners are quite aggressive in protecting their rights.
Non-profit use of websites will sometimes fall under "fair use" guidelines. If you ask nicely, website owners may grant permission for you to use their information or websites in public and educational settings for nonprofit causes.
Knowledge is always the best protection, so we have compiled a number of excellent websites on copyright law for teachers.
Crash Course in Copyright may be just the thing you need. Created for faculty and students at the University of Texas, much of this site is applicable elsewhere. The site is easy to use, and addresses much-needed basics such as fair use, licensing resources and online presentations.
Copyright Clearance Center, Inc bills itself as "permissions made easy." Fortunately, that's exactly what happens here. Various publications authorize the Center to grant permission for use. "Through its collective licensing programs, CCC provides authorized users with a lawful means for making photocopies from its repertoire of more than 1.75 million titles." The caveat: this does not necessarily mean it's royalty free.
The University Libraries of Penn State features a page they believe is "Everything you always wanted to know about Copyright but were afraid to ask. It's all right here, from "Fair Use Guidelines for Educational Multimedia" to "Copyright and Fair Use" and other links to valuable copyright-related websites.
An Ethical Edge in Education: Cognizance of Copyrights and Copy Wrongs written by Duane Goehner includes information on copyright from an educator's viewpoint.
Fair Use of Copyrighted Works: A Crucial Element in Educating America is the digital version of Fair Use of Copyrighted Works, a pamphlet published by CETUS. It was put together by the Working Group on Ownership, Legal Rights of Use and Fair Use of the CSU-SUNY-CUNY Joint Committee.
Fair Use Guidelines for Educational Multimedia provides the full text of guidelines from the Consortium of College and University Media Centers advising professors and students on acceptable uses of multimedia materials for educational purposes that would not infringe on owners' copyrights.
The Digital Millennium Copyright Act is available for download in PDF form, or can be viewed online at the Library of Congress website. Avoid the "legalese" and head to the UCLA Institute for Cyberspace Law & Policy and read an overview.