September 21, 2013

We recently received this note from teacher Kelly Wilson:

Dear Mr. Simon, 

I am a huge admirer of your books and have been using them for years in my classroom. One of my favorites to use is Autumn in America. My second and third grade students love the photos you use in it and I like how you teach sophisticated concepts to the children in a way that is respectful and not condescending. I don’t like science books that "dumb it down" for young readers!

I attached some images of a teaching packet I made about your book. I made this for other teachers to use when reading your book to their classes. It contains the page numbers, the key concepts, and important vocabulary the teachers should cover. It’s a 14 page document in all. It’s based on how I use your book in my class.

I want to share these photos with you to let you know how much I admire your work. If you have time, I’d love to get your opinion of the packet I made. I also want to get your permission to market my packet on the TeachersPayTeachers and Teacher’s Notebook online shops. I’m concerned that I might have violated your copyrights and want to correct it if I have. 

These two photos are the cover page and a preview of what’s in the entire packet. I’d be glad to send you the whole packet if you’d like.
Thank you for taking the time to read this and thank you for your amazing books!

Sincerely, Kelly Wilson

While I am very pleased that Kelly loves my books and is using my work in her classroom, I can only say that she needs to determine whether her project falls under the definition of "Fair Use" (in US copyright law the Fair Use doctrine states that brief excerpts of copyright material may, under certain circumstances, be quoted verbatim for purposes such as criticism, news reporting, teaching, and research, without the need for permission from or payment to the copyright holder). 

I only hold the copyright to the text and certain illustrations (the photographs that I took myself). The publisher owns the rights to the book and some of the photographs are licensed from photographers who own the copyrights.

I’m sure Kelly (and anyone else who asks this kind of question) will understand that I cannot be in the position of judging what is, and what is not, Fair Use. You will have to make that determination on your own.

This is a good question that I hear fairly often, so I’m glad you brought it up.

Thanks for writing! 


Posted by: Seymour Simon

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