Can a non-profit educational institution use resources found online that are not theirs during workshops people are paying for?

I work for a non-profit that charges schools for workshops. The non-profit does
not have a proprietary curriculum they pull curriculum from other orgs that they
find online. They charge for their workshops. Is this legal? Are the materials out
there covered under fair use?

Asked on October 5, 2017 under Business Law, Maryland


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

No, it is not illegal, unless those materias were specifically put into the "public domain" (made avaliable for use). Otherwise, whether they are a nonprofit or not, using others' materials for a commercial purpose (charging for workshops including those materials) is NOT fair use and is a violation of copyright. Finding material on online does not let you use it: almost everything online is in fact copyright of someone or another.

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