Legal Problems in Technology and Education


E-learning benefits both students and instructors enormously. Students can complete their studies online at their own pace while employing multimedia to meet their educational requirements. This research work demonstrates how educators in Massachusetts are enhancing student learning through the use of e-learning opportunities. This study focuses on understanding technological issues concerning online education, including intellectual property and Internet safety. Additionally, it discusses strategies for ensuring that e-learning has a positive impact on the future of education in Massachusetts’ schools, classrooms, teachers, and students. While there are numerous benefits to adopting e-learning, educators should address several critical concerns to ensure that learners benefit. Intellectual property, skills for the twenty-first century, safety, and security are just a few of these concerns. Educators should determine when they require permission from copyright holders and when they can use content in accordance with fair use guidelines. School districts sometimes pay hundreds or thousands of dollars in court-ordered fines for using unlicensed music, characters, and other material in learning institutions. Students may not always be aware of copyright restrictions, and this does not preclude them from illegally obtaining or using information. Copyright infringement occurs when materials that would normally be purchased are obtained or used illegally. It is punishable by fines, forfeiture of any property used in the infringement, and imprisonment. Teachers can assist students in developing information literacy skills that will enable them to use material without plagiarizing it, for example, by having them rewrite notes in their own words. Additionally, educating students about copyright laws teaches them how to make ethical use of information. Planning to improve network security enables schools to avoid major outages and respond to other security breaches. Educators should assist students in avoiding the numerous dangers that exist on the Internet, including hate groups, cyberbullying, and predators.


Students and instructors alike benefit enormously from e-learning. Through online learning, students may obtain the program of study at their own pace, utilizing multimedia to meet their educational requirements. Differentiated education enables teachers to engage today’s learners and communicates with them outside of the school day. Schools and districts are able to increase the number of courses available to scholars and the amount of professional development available to instructors. Consistent with the National Education Technology Plan, e-learning allows for greater flexibility in terms of the time, location, and speed of education (Kartiwi et al., 2019). It enables teachers to build an instructional environment that adjusts to students’ learning needs, whether at home or school. By enhancing teaching techniques, increasing curriculum content, and extending learning communities, e-learning positively affects student success.

E-Learning in Massachusetts illustrates the numerous ways in which schools are utilizing internet technologies. This study demonstrates how Massachusetts educators utilize e-learning possibilities to enhance student learning. Educators around the country are using electronic courses and materials, online activities and projects, and Internet-based professional development. Massachusetts has developed a robust online education network, a secure platform for e-learning (Calvo-Morata et al., 2019). E-learning in Massachusetts embodies CEO David Driscoll’s visualization for an online collection of tools that facilitate communication, cooperation, and sharing among teachers, students, and Department of Education employees, forming a single national community. David Driscoll explained the rationale for this web-based portal, noting that it was created to supplement face-to-face education throughout school time with a virtual setting available at any instance of daytime or night.

The web-based portal enables curriculum arrangement and evaluation with a single click, as well as simple access to high-quality, tailored education content and incorporated communication and partnership capabilities. Massachusetts presently offers two virtual schools, TEC Connections Academy Commonwealth Virtual School and Greenfield Commonwealth Virtual School, which educate students in grades K-12 (Hassan & Mirza, 2021). This research paper discusses technological concerns relating to online education, such as intellectual property and Internet safety. Additionally, it discusses what should be done to ensure that e-learning has a good influence on the future of education in Massachusetts’ schools, classrooms, and classroom teachers. An adequate understanding of legal and ethical issues relating to technology will assist educators and community members in increasing their awareness of the possible influence of e-learning on teaching and learning.

Main Section

The Massachusetts Department of Education offers chances for instructors and administrators to discover how to use a variety of technological expertise. The department collaborates strongly with organizations and school districts to deliver tailored professional growth for educators, the management, and students through local training events and online courses. While there are several advantages to adopting e-learning, educators should also address some critical concerns in order for learners to gain from it (Sridevi, 2020). Intellectual property, 21st-century skills, safety, and security are just a few of these concerns. Educators should assist pupils in developing digital skills and in adhering to intellectual property laws. Additionally, educators should protect the security of students, teachers, and school information, as well as the safety of learners. Schools can give e-learning proficiencies to students and staff by supporting the learning requirements by carefully evaluating and preparing for potential problems.

Intellectual Property

Audio and video files, pictures, text, and broadcasts are examples of the various forms of electronic goods used in e-learning, and each file is protected by copyright legislation. In many cases, fair use standards enable educators to utilize print and multimedia materials to improve education without first seeking permission from the owners of the original intellectual property. Schools and instructors, on the other hand, should continue to pay close attention to copyright regulations in order to avoid copyright infringement and plagiarism (Rinekso et al., 2021). Schools, districts, and individual instructors that use copyrighted content without permission may be subject to legal action. It is the responsibility of educators to assess when they need to get permission from copyright holders and when they can use content in accordance with fair use rules.

Fair Use

The term ‘fair use’ of copyrighted material refers to the freedom to apply other’s work for educational purposes without obtaining prior authorization from the patent owner. Prior recommendations assist instructors and students in utilizing print and multimedia resources to supplement and enhance the educational process. Fair use standards have evolved because of copyright court rulings, but they do not constitute unrestricted authorization for instructors and students to utilize materials (Kaliisa & Michelle, 2019). Rather than that, the copyrighted material’s intended use, audience, quantity, format, and duration of usage decide the application of fair use. Four elements contribute to the determination of when a copyrighted work may be utilized in accordance with fair use guidelines:

  1. The amount and solidity of the piece of the copyrighted work that was utilized with respect to the entire work.
  2. The impact of the usage on the possible market for or worth of the copyrighted material is taken into consideration.
  3. The nature of the work protected by copyright.
  4. The reason and nature of the application, encompassing whether the relevance is of a business significance or educational intentions that are not for profit.

The copyright owner should be consulted for authorization if the planned use does not clearly address one of the four conditions stated above. Permission to use a copyrighted work may only be sought from copyright owners, but details on an allowed application that can assist teachers in evaluating if fair use is applicable in a specific scenario are provided by the United States Copyright Office website. Some districts, including Nauset Public Schools, also publish links on their web pages to help instructors understand their rights of copyright and the principles of fair use (Tularam, 2018). Each person has legal responsibility for the copyrighted work and should obtain authorization to use it in instances where fair use is not applicable.

School districts are accountable for their participation in the violation of copyright. For instance, the instructor shall be held responsible if the teacher does not get copyright authorization from a patented cartoon character on a school’s resource (Ahmed et al., 2018). The district is also possibly responsible and susceptible to major fines if the copyrighted character animation is put on a district- or institution-sponsored website. In order to utilize non-authorized music, characters, and other material in school districts, sometimes hundreds or thousands of US dollars in court-involved fines have to be paid.


Students are frequently perplexed about what information is protected by intellectual property regulations. The responses of students to the question of how copyright law affects the application of Internet work may indicate that some students are aware that there are limitations on utilizing copyright-secured information, even if they are not at all times correct concerning the specifics of the restraints in question. Information that is utilized for educational purposes is exempt from the application of fair use standards (Brocato & Kwok, 2018). For example, although it may be permissible for a student to utilize bird photos and calls from the Internet to produce a multimedia output for school, using the same files with or without references ‘for pleasure’ is not suitable until special permission is obtained for such usage. Furthermore, it is illegal to put copyrighted information on the Internet without the consent of the creator, even if the work is being used for educational reasons.

Students may not always be aware of copyright limitations, which do not prevent them from illegally obtaining or using information. The majority of learners admit to the illegal use of digital content. Many learners download copyrighted content despite being aware that doing so is against the law (Rajkumar & Ganapathy, 2020). Students frequently use a variety of justifications to explain unlawful downloading, ranging from their inability to pay for the content to being permitted to do so by their parents. While applying digital content for personal reasons, one may download music without realizing that they are required to get authorization to do so or that they would be required to pay for the privilege. Educators should think about how they and the learners utilize video and audio broadcasts, files, pictures, and text before making any decisions.

Copyright infringement involves obtaining or utilizing unlawful copies of materials that would otherwise be purchased. It can result in penalties, confiscation of any property utilized in the infringement, and imprisonment. When examining the issue of ownership, teachers and their recruitment institutions often have conflicting ideas about who oversees intellectual property rights over the content made by academics. Although some teachers spend a lot of time building education or training materials one-on-one, an institution could believe it ought to control the resources generated by its staff (Windiarti et al., 2019). These instructors are backed with considerable materials in the production and maintenance of teaching resources by their employers (for example, the software, training experts, the server space, and other infrastructures) and are compensated for teaching with whatever they require.


Some learners may not comprehend that a person plagiarizes when he takes knowledge from someone else and portrays it as his own. While many people know what plagiarism is, a high proportion does not grasp the effects of such activity properly. Failure to recognize that plagiarism can lead to deficiencies or expulsion can be a cause of plagiarizing others’ work deliberately. The plagiary may also be caused by the confusion of many students regarding what plagiarism is and when proof is needed for paraphrased or cited materials (Blaga, 2019). When questioned about plagiarism and utilizing online material, most students’ replies may reveal that some believe that information can in any manner be used wrongly, and others believe that text sections without quotes should be allowed for use, provided that the document is not fully utilized.

An inadequate understanding of plagiarism expresses why some learners copy other people’s content instead of taking notes and creating unique work. Technology also makes copying text easier. In seconds, students may copy and paste material from the Internet into their files. Students should be sufficiently trained to avert the urge to plagiarize. Teaching learners academic integrity enables them to realize the value of generating and presenting their unique work and prepares them for college and professional employment (Garcia, 2020). Teachers can assist students in acquiring information literacy knowledge that will enable them to use material without being plagiarized, for instance, by writing notes in their wording. Moreover, teaching learners about copyright rules enables them to use information ethically.


School districts should ensure the safety of their networks. Internet-related computers are not only in danger from issues such as viruses and hackers but also all other network-associated devices. Approximately 1500 electronic mail viruses, 75 scans/samples, 140 online defacement efforts, and 15 computer remote control or Trojan hijack attempts were detected by the Department of Information Technology in Michigan each day (Leung et al., 2019). In Massachusetts, school districts confront several of these challenges to a great extent. The districts are helped with threat intelligence by security solutions such as firewalls, filters, computer virus detection software, and malware protection. Security of the network is an important concern. School networks should safeguard information about them and prevent individuals from making unintentional use within or outside the system.

One example of the resources available to help superintendents and technology professionals assess, safeguard, and maintain school network safety is an interactive web-based page established by the Consortium for School Networking (CoSN). Different actions are taken to ensure that the network protects information: the development of contingency plans, creating a security team, monitoring the technology, and supporting tighter policies (Farhangpour et al., 2019). Network managers should determine exactly what they are going to do if anything goes wrong, for example, theft of personal data from students or teachers. Planning to enhance network safety helps avoid major hitches and assists schools in dealing with other security breaches. Unwanted electronic mail communications, known as spam or junk e-mail messages, may be highly damaging to educational and learning networks. These communications may encompass viruses that can possibly harm or destroy private data, curricular and administrative materials, and network resources, including software and databases for students and staff.

Spammers frequently construct attractive subject lines for their communications which craftily indicate that they have requested or sent information from a friend. Sometimes opening spam might activate computer viruses or show pornographic and violent pictures. Spam containing no viruses may also interfere with education, as it can interfere with computer storage or slow down the speed and efficiency of the network (Blackburn et al., 2018). Schools can employ specialists in software management to assist in detecting subject lines that contain offensive or machine-generated content to safeguard students, personnel, and computer networks from viruses and spam. Unless students and staff identify sender names, they can be trained not to read e-mail communications, and district rules should describe this for diverse types of users of technology. Schools should activate computer firewalls, install virus detection software, and examine networks for an unanticipated level of activity, such as night and weekend hours when the most resource is not in use, in order to reduce the possible exploitation of network content for illegal or criminal usage.


Educators should assist learners in avoiding the numerous hazards found on the Internet, such as hate organizations, cyberbullying, and predators. According to Standard II of Massachusetts’ instructional technology principles, students should exhibit an awareness of online ethics and safety. Students are particularly vulnerable to predators. Online predators can connect closely with students over the Internet by joining chat groups and posing as youngsters. A predator may spend some time befriending a student and eliciting personal details from the chat room discourse in such a manner (that is, the name of a learning institution or school sports team). This knowledge enables the predator to continue befriending the youngster and establishing a relationship of trust and reliance (Wishart, 2017). Predators attempt to divert talks away from public chat rooms into instant messaging, electronic mail, private chat rooms, texts, and calls.

Even if the youngsters do not divulge their complete names and address, extended discussions frequently provide enough information for predators to identify and harm the students. Students’ perceptions of Internet safety differ significantly. Students should be ‘street savvy’ online in order to be safe. While the majority of learners are aware of risks, others are unaware of any personal danger. By teaching all kids how to be safe, they may avoid potentially harmful situations (Blackburn et al., 2018). Cyberbullying, or the use of technology to harass or defame someone, causes worry for educators because peers may use the Internet to continue bothering a classmate after the school day ends or reach a larger audience and ruin a student’s image. Cyberbullies may quickly reach whole school communities by writing e-mails and other messages to peers, slandering learners in chat rooms, and lambasting students on internet sites.

While all forms of bullying are destructive, the effect of cyberbullying renders it so pervasive that some families are compelled to relocate in order to keep their children safe from their predators. Schools may contribute to the prevention of cyberbullying by educating students on how to employ technology ethically and implementing rules that safeguard them. Students should be taught how to critically examine websites and appreciate that anybody may develop and publish such sites to express their ideas and beliefs. Entities such as hate organizations reach out to and attract youngsters over the Internet to accomplish their evil missions. For instance, a learner who interacted with a neo-Nazi gang via the Internet conducted the March 2005 school massacre in Minnesota, killing ten people (Leung et al., 2019). In this case, the student’s electronic mail posts suggested that he was aware of his engagement with a hate group.

With sufficient knowledge, students may conduct research and identify web pages that have been purposefully intended to deceive them. A website that purports to be a historical record of Martin Luther, Jr. and looks to be a reputable source of data is an example of this. An investigation of the site finds that it is actually managed by a white supremacist organization. Teachers should spend sufficient time teaching learners how to evaluate what they come across on the Internet (Farhangpour et al., 2019). Without adequate knowledge and media literacy abilities, learners frequently lack the ability to discern if a website is authoritative, damaging, or satirical.

Occasionally, learners come across inappropriate websites as a result of a URL that has been mistyped. The authors of purposefully deceptive websites exploit this common blunder by utilizing misspelled versions of famous student websites or by adopting a different domain extension for a website’s name, ending with ‘.com’ rather than ‘.org.’ Teachers and instructional technology experts should collaborate to educate students on how to assess online sites before embarking on research assignments. Additionally, they should visit numerous websites with the learners to determine whether they are suitable online resources (Huang et al., 2019). School districts should develop acceptable strategies that spell out their anticipations for student and educator digital use and adhere to the Children’s Internet Protection Act (CIPA).

CIPA was established in December 2000 to assist in protecting children online from dangerous or inappropriate content. It requires learning institutions and libraries that receive discounts for Internet connections or wiring to bar or filter out websites that include child pornography, obscenity, or other harmful or improper content for learners. Almost 99 percent of Massachusetts schools have an acceptable usage policy in place for students; around 85 percent include the rules in student handbooks; and 81 percent post the policies on district or school websites (Calvo-Morata et al., 2019). Ninety-eight percent of school districts have a CIPA-compliant Internet filter. School districts should be obliged to monitor students’ electronic communications, hacking attempts, and unlawful exposure of learners’ personally identifiable information. Additionally, schools that obtain state or federal funds for technology should adhere to CIPA regulations.

In order to teach learners how to remain safe, i-SAFE America, NetSmartz, and other organizations have established Internet Safety Curricula for schools and parents. Massachusetts collaborates with NetSmartz, a non-profit company that offers schools and parents interesting, interactive web projects and worksheets. A teacher in the library utilizes NetSmartz at a private school with pupils at middle and secondary schools in Longmeadow (Hassan & Mirza, 2021). I-SAFE America, established in collaboration with the United States Justice Department, gives trainers and teachers materials to work with K-12 children. Organizations, including the Regional Library System, like Massachusetts Computer Using Educators, conduct i-SAFE training courses for educators who teach individuals in their districts. Waltham educators use the resources supplied by i-SAFE to offer parents and people of the community information on Internet safety.

Besides official Internet security initiatives, schools may employ community resources to assist learners in understanding how to be secure online. Secondary school library teachers should educate new students on Internet security during select group orientation programs. One may spend a number of days talking with learners at every level about news or stories concerning local safety concerns and utilize online safety to enhance teaching. The topic of security on the Internet is essential at school and home, and online hazards are a big part of teaching students and parents (Huang et al., 2019). When presented with unsuitable websites, some simple methods for learners are to exit the web browser window or use the back button to revert to the last screen. These simple measures can help pupils escape dangerous places quickly. Parents can assist students in building neutral account names that will not offer predators identification indications.

Strictly designed college computer workstation layouts can assist in enhancing the safety of students. Student workstations are in high-traffic zones in Swampscott. Library personnel should set PCs for staff to monitor Internet use within a public location of the school library. In many institutions, library workstations are arranged near the circulation desk while computer labs are built up and equipped with all displays facing the teacher, thus making it easy to observe students’ websites (Calvo-Morata et al., 2019). Computer workstations should also include printouts that are easily accessible regarding keeping secure online. For instance, in a big newsletter board in the Malden science laboratory and Frontier Regional, technology specialists provide security measures and safety tips on cards adjacent to computer workstations.


Computer-based expertise has presented teachers, students, management, and parents with numerous problems in schools. Nevertheless, it is a basic issue to evaluate technology as regards ethical considerations. The protection of the mind, ethics, and security of the individual is an essential consideration of families and schools, whereas preserving societies’ values and cultural heritage is an essential issue of educational systems. Usually, students do not know if the information on the Internet is good or negative. The Internet is also a wonderful tool for accessing information. It includes many unsolicited websites ranging from porn sites to explosives development (Hassan & Mirza, 2021). As ethical and moral concerns are not observed when using the Internet, illegal access to information leads to several immoral occurrences, including intruding on personal and work computers. Additional events include robbery of data and information, illegal accessibility of financial resources, dissemination of immoral beliefs and conduct, economic exploitation, sexual abuse, and theft of identity, to name a few.

Themes relating to intellectual property rights, academic freedom, and integrity have given more emphasis to the influence of technology concerns on online education and the legal implications of distance learning. In the sphere of education, the patentability, registration, copyrighting, or authorization of intellectual property may include any academic work such as textbooks, research publications, curricula, presentation documents, and lecture notes, among others. Intellectual property can also be regarded for educational or instructional content such as simulations, assignments, readings, tools, projects, debates, or examinations. Schools should seriously evaluate problems relating to expertise, intellectual property, safety, and security in the 21st century (Rinekso et al., 2021). School administrators should contribute to the efficient and secure application of technology and protect the network infrastructure and private data by preparing for such challenges.


E-learning enables greater educational flexibility in terms of time, location, and pace. It enables teachers to create an instructional environment tailored to each student’s unique learning needs, whether at home or school. E-learning benefits students’ success by enhancing teaching techniques, expanding curriculum content, and extending learning communities. Massachusetts e-learning demonstrates the numerous ways in which schools are utilizing internet technologies. A thorough understanding of the legal and ethical implications of technology will aid educators and community members in raising their awareness of the potential impact of e-learning on teaching and learning. The Massachusetts Department of Education provides opportunities for educators and administrators to gain knowledge about a variety of technological capabilities. Educators should assist students in developing digital literacy and complying with intellectual property laws.

Additionally, educators should safeguard students, teachers, and school information, as well as learners’ safety. On the other hand, schools and instructors should pay special attention to copyright regulations to avoid encroachment and plagiarism. Unauthorized use of copyrighted content by schools, districts, or individual instructors may result in legal action. Before making any decisions, educators should consider how they and their students will use online video and audio broadcasts, files, images, and text. Furthermore, technology simplifies the process of text copying. Students can copy and paste content from the Internet into their files in a matter of seconds. To evade the enticement to plagiarize, students should receive adequate training. Academic integrity teaches students the value of creating and presenting their work and prepares them for university and professional employment.

Schools should install computer firewalls, set up virus detection software, and monitor networks for unusual levels of activity, such as at night or on weekends when the majority of resources are idle, to minimize the possibility of network content being exploited for illegal or criminal purposes. Online predators can establish close relationships with students via the Internet, frequently by joining chat rooms and posing as peers. A predator may spend time befriending a student and eliciting personal information from chat room conversations. Even if students do not reveal their full names and addresses, extended discussions frequently provide sufficient information for predators to identify and harm them. While all forms of bullying are harmful, the effect of cyberbullying is so invasive and widespread that some families have been forced to relocate in order to protect their children from predators. Schools can help prevent cyberbullying by teaching students how to use technology ethically and enforcing rules that protect them. Strictly structured college computer workstation layouts can help improve student safety.


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LawBirdie. "Legal Problems in Technology and Education." March 23, 2023.