Theatre, Speech & Debate Tracks Added to “Understanding Copyright and Compliance” Course

Theatre directors and speech and debate coaches can now take advantage of two new tracks in “Understanding Copyright and Compliance,” an online education course available through the NFHS Learning Center at .

“Understanding Copyright and Compliance” explains what copyright means and when there may be exceptions. The course discusses topics including fair use, when a piece of music might be in the public domain and copyright infringement penalties.

“Copyright is a critically important topic for state associations and schools,” said Dan Schuster, NFHS director of educational services. “The legal implications involved can be very serious if there is a violation.”

“For decades, educators have made assumptions on what it means to be copyright compliant,” said Dr. James Weaver, NFHS director of performing arts and sports. “For the first time, they now have a tool that is easy to use and understand to assist them in being copyright compliant.

In addition to the new tracks for theatre directors and speech and debate coaches, the course, available free of charge, also includes tracks tailored to the specific needs of music teachers, spirit coaches and school administrators.

“We’ve had success with three tracks and felt the need to expand to other areas where copyright could be an issue,” Schuster said. “Similar to what we have done in our health and safety courses, we are always looking to enhance our educational opportunities wherever possible.”

For speech and debate coaches, the course includes 10 main units including topics like “Public Domain, Rental and Out-of-Print,” “Performances and Exemptions,” “Streaming Rights” and “Festivals and Contests.” Theatre directors can take advantage of an 11-unit package with topic examples such as “Arrangements, Copies and Recordings,” “Dramatic Rights” and “Mashups and Cover Music.”

After starting with two courses – Fundamentals of Coaching and First Aid for Coaches – in 2007 through the NFHS Coach Education Program, the NFHS Learning Center now offers 68 online courses – 33 of which are free – and has expanded its reach to contest officials, students, music adjudicators, and speech, debate and theatre educators.

“We look to take important topics and create awareness of them,” Schuster said. “These programs help better the educational experience for coaches and their students.”

Since the launch of in 2007, the NFHS has delivered more than 8.5 million courses.

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