UW Story

Fair Use


The US Copy­right Law also pro­vides for Fair Uses of copy­righted mate­r­ial under spe­cific cir­cum­stances like; crit­i­cism, com­ment, news report­ing, schol­ar­ship and research.  Some teach­ing uses are also cov­ered, includ­ing copies of works dis­trib­uted in the classroom.

Inter­pre­ta­tion of Fair Use hinges on four fac­tors that are cov­ered in detail in the slide show that fol­lows.  The major fac­tor for us exam­in­ing whether a use is a fair use in dig­i­tal media is pub­li­ca­tion. A work of music or video may be played in the class­room to make an edu­ca­tional point, but when it is uploaded to the course or depart­ment web­site, or attached to a blog or shared by email — it has been pub­lished and is no longer a fair use under most cir­cum­stances.  Same goes for music or still images used in a video product.

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Con­tent cre­ators face daily the dilemma of whether a piece of visual con­tent is eli­gi­ble for fair use or if per­mis­sion must be obtained. Here is a slideshow to walk you through a case study about “fair use of copy­righted mate­ri­als”, the con­di­tions under which users are allowed to pub­lish, dis­trib­ute, or repro­duce copy­righted or trade­marked mate­r­ial with­out per­mis­sion, for cer­tain purposes.

Code of Best Prac­tices in Fair Use for Online Video

School of Com­mu­ni­ca­tion, Amer­i­can University