"Fair use is a legal doctrine that promotes freedom of expression by permitting the unlicensed use of copyright-protected works in certain circumstances. Section 107 of the Copyright Act provides the statutory framework for determining whether something is a fair use and identifies certain types of uses—such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching, scholarship, and research—as examples of activities that may qualify as fair use." - U.S. Copyright Office
Fair Use Checklist
"Fair Use" varies from situation to situation. There is no prescriptive answer as to what constitutes fair use. There are four tenets to consider when applying the "Fair Use" clause of the U.S. Copyright Law:
These tenets were not meant to be considered singly, but should be analyzed together. The clause does not prescribe how much "weight" each factor is accorded. Historically, the courts have placed the most value on the "market effect" of the use, while the "nature" clause has usually been considered as a lesser factor.
For help in determining a fair use evaluation, the ALA Fair Use Evaluator, developed by Michael Brewer is a good resource.
Under the "fair use" provision of U.S. Copyright Law, a copy may be made of an author's work without asking permission. The suggestions made below are based on fair use guidelines, but please be aware that courts are not bound by these guidelines and the Copyright Act does not contain these prescriptions. These examples merely provide a "safe harbor" for use. Be sure to use the Fair Use Evaluator to conduct your own fair use analysis.
Classroom distribution of copies:
Using Material found on the Internet:
Multimedia works are created by combining copyrighted works such as movies, music, sounds, graphics and text. It is recommended that only small portions of the works are used.
Conference on Fair Use Guidelines for Multimedia
The Conference on Fair Use (CONFU) attempted to establish guidelines to clarify the application of fair use of copyrighted works in the digital educational environment. These guidelines were never formally adopted.
While only the court can authoritatively determine fair use, many educators use these guidelines as a starting place because the guidelines represent the CONFU participants' consensus of conditions under which fair use should generally apply. However, the guidelines have no force of law behind them.
CONFU guidelines allow you to use small portions of multimedia works without obtaining copyright permissions.
Following CONFU guidelines you may: