Review the ethics / copyright / collaboration /plagiarism slides. Also, here's a 4-per-page version of the slides.

Here are two excerpts that I think are informative. [Note that they both are products of the U. S. Government and thus in the public domain!]

"Copyright protects the particular way authors have expressed themselves. It does not extend to any ideas, systems, or factual information conveyed in a work."
I think this is illuminating because it says something concise and authoritative about what cannot be copyrighted. The next quotation is from a a leagal ruling, and I think it sheds some light on Fair Use and its limits.
"[A] reviewer may fairly cite largely from the original work, if his design be really and truly to use the passages for the purposes of fair and reasonable criticism. On the other hand, it is as clear, that if he thus cites the most important parts of the work, with a view, not to criticize, but to supersede the use of the original work, and substitute the review for it, such a use will be deemed in law a piracy ... "
— Judge in Joseph Story in Folsom v. Marsh (see

A few extra notes about copyright and programs

It's worth making a few remarks specifically about programs and copyright. These are just some general observations, and I sure wouldn't rely on them as expert legal advice, but none-the-less they hopefully help provide some big picture view of programs and copyright.

An example of as question you should be able to answer

Answer the following questions according to Copyright Law as applied to online materials.
  1. On some other school's website, you find the online notes for a course similar to IC210. They are publically available on that website, and you find them helpful. Can you legally download these notes and then bundle them into a pseudo-textbook for your own personal use?
  2. Can you make multiple copies of the pseudo-textbook described in 1 above at Kinkos and then sell these copies on e-bay?
  3. Would your answer to 2 change if you didn't charge folks money for the copies?