Friday, March 27, 2015

What's All This About Copyright? How Copyright Law Affects NAMC Students

What if …

• Someone copied your original photograph or video, sold it in volume, and became a rich and famous “artist” as a result?

• Someone copied your term paper, which you spent the better part of a semester working on to obtain your degree, and has published it online as his own?

• Someone took credit for an original song that you wrote and it hit number one on the charts?

• Someone published your manuscript under her name and it becomes a best seller?

• Someone duplicated your product without your permission, sold it, and ended up providing customers with inferior products that have your name on them? And now you are getting calls, comments, and tweets from unhappy customers who think you are to blame?

Unfortunately, the last scenario is a familiar experience for NAMC. In the past few weeks, we have encountered someone reproducing and selling multiple copies of our curriculum support material to purchasers who thought they were buying NAMC’s original work. This person illegally used our material and profited on NAMC’s hard work and good name.

There is no denying that this is a blatant example of copyright infringement, but there are other less obvious cases. We have recently been communicating with people who were attempting to reproduce our demonstration videos, photocopying manual pages, and scanning manuals to make digital copies. In these instances, the material was not copied for profit; often, it was copied to share between colleagues at a school. However, this still constitutes illegally reproduced material.

Awareness and understanding of the law of copyright is critically important with the rapid advancement of technology and access to incredible amounts of information. It is relatively easy to duplicate (copy) and redistribute copyright-protected works of all kinds — printed and recorded works, music, videos, paintings, etc. I am sure you have heard the term “pirated” — it refers to copyright infringement and it is unlawful.

For some two decades, the success of North American Montessori Center’s graduates has enabled us to grow and enhance our programs, to bear witness to the expansion of the Montessori method of education for children around the world, and to participate in Maria Montessori’s vision.

NAMC has created the most comprehensive and respected Montessori teaching material worldwide. This achievement is derived from the hard work and passionate dedication of a large team of professional teachers, researchers, writers, designers, and publishers. I cannot say enough about this incredible investment and constant contribution in the development of NAMC programs, manuals, support material, videos, articles, and other related works. The result is that our students, graduates and partner schools — and consequently, thousands of children — benefit from NAMC’s ongoing dedication to excellence and advancement. We’re very proud to be a part of that.

All of North American Montessori’s programs and materials are copyright protected. This includes our manuals, CDs, DVDs, assignments, photographs, social media posts, etc., whether they are provided in printed, digital, or online format. No one is permitted to copy or distribute them without our permission. An important aspect of this is tied to the quality and integrity of the programs and products that people purchase from us. If our name is on it, we provide an uncompromising commitment to deliver quality and value. If anyone copies our work and distributes it without our written permission, our integrity and reputation are compromised along with our ability to remain in business. We take this very seriously.

The law of copyright, simply put, comes into effect once a work is put into a fixed form, even if it is in a draft form and not yet complete. A fixed form can be written, saved on a computer, videotaped, or recorded. Copyright protection applies to diverse works such as published and unpublished books and articles, photographs and images, charts, manuals and graphs, CDs, DVDs, software, and the contents of databases and websites.

I am not here to teach the basics of international copyright law. Rather, I wish to clarify to our Montessori community that any reproduction of NAMC work cannot legally be copied, translated, reproduced, or distributed without our written permission. This includes photocopying, scanning, recording, and copying/transmitting from an information and retrieval system, such as a computer. Our material is sold for personal use. Any individual or organization that appears to be reproducing and/or directly selling our works in volume has not been given our written permission.

The exception to this is “first sale,” which allows a person who has purchased our program material (manuals, CDs, DVDs, etc.) to resell only once that same (not copied) copyright-protected material without our permission.

In the case of “sharing” social media posts online, we welcome and celebrate this opportunity with the Montessori community. When sharing one of our posts on social media, NAMC must be credited for our post and any original photography. For any hard copy or digital reproduction and distribution of NAMC posts or images, our written permission is required and NAMC must remain credited as the creator.

I hope you find this article helpful and that it will encourage you to contact us if you have any questions about our material or services. We understand that there may be special circumstances whereby individuals may need our permission to duplicate an article or item, so do give us a call.

NAMC Contact information:
Canada/US toll-free: 1.877.531.6665
International 604.576.6621

— Dale Gausman, NAMC Program Director / Founder

As much as possible, NAMC’s web blog reflects the Montessori curriculum as provided in its teacher training programs. We realize and respect that Montessori schools are unique and may vary their schedules and offerings in accordance with the needs of their individual communities. We hope that our readers will find our articles useful and inspiring as a contribution to the global Montessori community.
© North American Montessori Center - originally posted in its entirety at Montessori Teacher Training on Friday, March 27, 2015.


  1. I am sorry for the copyright infringement NAMC. It is sad to read this. Please stay true to your message of high quality Montessori for the world. I am so grateful for your work. I personally hold your training as one of my more treasured life experiences and use it respectfully and faithfully as a graduate of early el and soon 3-6. Doug


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