You are on page 1of 4

Copyright Fair Use Practices

Background (Summarized by Christine Fisher)

• Copyright law gives a creator the exclusive right to reproduce, prepare derivative
works, distribute, perform, display, sell, lend or rent their creations.
• A variety of forms of expression are protected: poetry and prose, computer
programs, artwork, music, animations movies and videos, Java Applets, web pages,
architectural drawings photographs and more.
• Some things are not protected by copyright, such as: ideas, titles, names, short
phrases, works in the public domain, facts, logos and slogans (protected by
trademark), blank forms that don’t provide information, and URLs.
• Educators at non-profit educational institutions are allowed to use small portions of
copyrighted works in their teaching. By using the smallest amount necessary they
can avoid lawsuits.
• Although still controversial, the law provides for “fair use” by educators without the
author or creator’s permission and free of charge.
• The 1976 Copyright Act established four “fair use” criteria:
o Is it commercial or is for non-profit educational purposes? (School
teachers shouldn’t have to worry.)
o Is the work used for criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching,
scholarship, or research? (Stay close to these uses and you should be
o How much of the entire copyrighted work was used? (A small poem
may be able to be used entirely, but use no more than necessary of larger
o Did the use keep someone from buying the material? (Courts pay
attention to this closely.) More leniency is shown for non-profit organizations.

Applications for Teachers

As a classroom teacher I will have to use copyrighted material sparingly, and get permission
where possible. I need to acknowledge the source of the material, and keep the excerpts
short, only using what I really need. I also need to remember that copyright issues apply to
more than just print materials.

Single Copying Use (Summarized by Christine Fisher)

• The House of Representatives set guidelines for reasonable single copy use.
• Teachers may make a single photocopy of a chapter of a book, a short story, a short
essay, or a short poem, or an article from a magazine, journal or newspaper.
• They may also copy pictures, charts, diagrams, cartoons or graphs from a book,
periodical, or newspaper.
• There is some controversy over course packs (collections of materials copied as
resources for students). Kinko’s Graphics was successfully sued for producing them.
• Some colleges are providing digital reserves of materials available through websites,
or hyperlinks, which can be controversial.
• A good way to avoid these issues is to put materials on reserve at a library.
Students can make single copies of the materials for their use in accordance with
copyright law.
• Teachers have fairly wide copying privileges for research, the placement of materials
in a library reserve room, and other education purposes, but they must adhere to
the principles of fair use and be operating in non-profit educational setting.
Application for Teachers
I’ll have to be very careful in assembling materials for students. The controversy over
course packs does not appear to be resolved. The jury appears to still be out on digital
reserves as well. Now that I plan to use social bookmarking more, I’ll have to investigate
the copyright implications there. When giving assignments to students, I will need make
them aware of “fair use” issues.

Multiple Copies Use (summarized by Christine Fisher)

• In general, copies should be made at the spur of the moment when it’s too difficult
to get permission from the owner, and in limited numbers according to the following
o An article (2,500 words)
o Prose (1,000 words, or 10% of the work, whichever is less)
o Poem (250 words)
o Only one chart, diagram, cartoon, or picture from a newspaper, periodical, or
• Make only one copy per student and charge for only the cost of copying, The
copying should be done for only one course and should not be reproduced year after
year. Only copy one work for each author, unless it’s an anthology and then you may
copy three authors. Workbooks, tests, and other “consumable” works are not
• Limit yourself to nine situations of multiple copying each term. Newspapers and
periodicals are the exception; stay within the word limits above and you may copy
as many times as desired. However, creating anthologies or collected works violates
the “derivative works” rights of the copyright holder.
• Where possible get permission or seek a publisher’s reprint.

Applications for Teachers

It’s nice to have some specific guidelines on how much can be safely copied. I do use a
variety of supplemental sources in my teaching. This has made me better aware of the
limits on that. It’s nice to know that newspapers and periodicals are more available. I’ll have
to take advantage of that where possible.

Multimedia (summarized by Lisa Gochnauer)

• Also known as "Hypermedia", involves the integration of text, graphics, audio and/or
video into a computer-based environment.
• In 1996, "Fair Use Guidelines for Educational Multimedia" were created:
o Students may incorporate others' works into their multimedia creations and
perform and display them for academic assignments.
o Faculty may incorporate others' works into their multimedia creations to
produce curriculum materials.
o Faculty may provide for multimedia products using copyrighted works to be
accessible to students at a distance (distance learning), provided that only
those students may access the material.
o Faculty may demonstrate their multimedia creations at professional
symposium and retain same in their own portfolios.

• Guidelines provide limits on the amount of copyrighted media that may be used:
o Video clips (10% or 3 minutes, whichever is less)
o Text (10% or 1000 words, whichever less)
 Poems
 Up to 250 words.
 Three poem limit per poet
 Five poem limit by different poets from an anthology.
o Music (10% or 30 seconds, whichever is less)
o Photos and Images
 5 works from one author.
 10% or 15 works, whichever is less, from a collection.
o Database information (10% or 2,500 fields or cell entries, whichever is less)

Applications for Teachers

In an age where the use of multimedia in the classroom is becoming a necessary
educational tool, it's important to know what the allowable limits of copyrighted material
may be used, especially in projects such as portfolios that will be see by others outside the
immediate classroom. It's essential that educators teach their students to be good citizens
in a digital world and set a good example.

Audio/Visual (summarized by Lisa Gochnauer)

• Comprised of images or sound, or a combination of both

o Not to be confused with "Multimedia" which incorporates text, graphics,
sound and/or video clips in a computerized environment.
o A/V can be incorporated into a Multimedia work
o Videos
 VHS tapes
 laserdiscs
 DVD (digital versatile discs) movies, an emerging technology now
hitting the consumer market.
 35 mm slides.
o Filmstrip.
 With or without audio presentation.
o 16 mm movies
• A/V Usage
o Performance and Display
 1976 Copyright Act allows teachers to show AV works to students in a
face-to-face teaching situation only.
 TEACH Act of of 2002 has allowed the digital transmission of
A/V works in certain situations
 Guidelines
 Performance of the A/V work must meet the instructional
 AV work must be a "lawfully made" copy
o Fair Use
 Involves "video duplication"
 Use only the smallest amount necessary
 Avoid using the "creative essence"
 It is illegal to copy an entire work or convert it to another format

Applications for Teachers

Films and videos are an essential part of today's classroom, and are a useful tools for
supplementing teaching content, especially as the media stimulate both auditory and visual
learners. It's important to know what is legally acceptable when showing A/V works to
students, since some companies, especially Disney can be rather lawsuit happy. It's also
important to know the legality of copying A/V works, especially as schools have limited
budgets. I didn't know that it was illegal to copy old filmstrips and other aging media even
in order to preserve them.

Distance Education (summarized by Lisa Gochnauer)

• Prior to the 2002 TEACH act, educators were restricted from showing audio-visual
content over the Internet or cable TV, even though teachers could show these
videos in a face-to-face learning environment.
• 2002 TEACH act made it possible to show A/V works without permission to students
at a distance under certain conditions.
o Institution showing A/V works must be a non-profit
o A/V works may only be show to enrolled students
o Only "reasonable and limited" portions are used.
 A digital version must be used if one is available
 If no digital copy is available, certain allocations may be taken:
 Analog version may be digitized for streaming purposes for a
brief time
 Digital copy may be stored for future use so long as no
one else has access to it
 Only a "reasonable and limited" portion may be
 Amount should be comparable to what is shown
in live classroom
 Must be directly related to teaching content
 May be no other copies that what is used for
o Materials must be limited for a brief time while instruction is taking place
 A/V work cannot be accessed during entire course
 Care must be taken to make sure students cannot access materials
after course is finished

Applications for Teachers

Online classes are quickly becoming a popular practice in higher education, and online
components are even becoming part of K-12 education as well.