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Fair Use Guidelines

Applying the tests identified for "fair use" can bring up complex issues.  In general, the following guidelines provide a workable framework of analysis to help understand if a given use if within the rights of "fair use."  Here are some basic guidelines for teacher copies, classroom copies, libraries, print guidelines, video tapes and AV materials, off-air taping, music, software, the Internet, and Multimedia.

Teacher Copies.  Single copies for teacher research, preparation for teaching, or teaching is "fair use" when it concerns a:

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Single chapter in a book.

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Single copy of an article.

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Single copy of a short story, poem, or essay.

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Single copy of a picture, cartoon, drawing, diagram, graph, or char.

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Classroom Copies.  Copies for classroom use should be spontaneous and at the inspiration of an individual teacher.  This spontaneity precludes taking the time to request permission.  The material used should be brief.  The cumulative effect of the copies should:

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Only for 1 course and not repeated from term to term.

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Not include more than 1 by any author, three from any collective work/periodical volume.

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Not exceed 9 instances during a course.

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Classroom copies are not to be used to create compilations of the works of others without each copyright holder's permission.

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Libraries.  Copies are permitted for interlibrary loan, preservation, replacement of lost or damaged items.  Articles places on reserve are not covered by copyrights, but there are ALA guidelines.

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Print Guidelines.  The following apply to what portion of a work can be copied in multiples:

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Poetry.  Complete poem under 250 words, except not more than 250 words o longer poem.

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Prose.  Complete work if under 2,500 words, excerpt of 1,000 words or 10% (whichever is less)

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Periodicals.  No more than 3 items per volume or 9 items copied in multiples per course per tem (except news articles).

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Illustration.  One per book or periodical (no right to modify).

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Videotapes and AV Materials.  Rented/purchased materials must specifically include "public performance" rights to avoid copyright issues.  Typically, material sold at retail outlets are only for "home use."  To be considered "fair use,"  ALL FOUR of the following for apply:

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Material must be presented by instructors or pupils in a particular class AND

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Occur in a face-to-face teaching directly related to the lesson being covered at the time AND

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Take place in a classroom, or other instructional setting in a nonprofit educational institution AND

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Consist of a copy of the work that was legally acquired.

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Off-Air Taping.  These considerations apply strictly to broadcasts and do not apply to cable or other means of transmission (which do not have the same fair use rights).  To be considered "fair use," the following apply:

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Taping must be requested from a specific instructor.

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Not more than once.

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Only for instructional purposes.

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Cannot be modified or edited.

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Music.  Emergency replacement of purchased copies are allowed provided purchased replacement copies are substituted.  For Academic purpose (NOT performance), the following are permissible:

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Multiple copies of excerpts of work, up to 10% of the total work

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A single copy of an entire performable unit that is out of print or unavailable sole for he purpose of scholarly research or preparation to teach.

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A single copy of recordings of performances by students for evaluation or rehearsal purposes.

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Single copy of an legally owned sound recording for constructing aural exercises or examinations.

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Printed copies that have been purchased may be edited or simplified, provided (1).  the fundamental character of the work is not distorted, (2).  Lyrics are not altered, (3).  No lyrics are added. 

Permission to use music can be sought through ASCAP or BMI

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Software.  When software is purchased, users are buying license to use that copyrighted material.  Purchasers are allowed one archival copy.  Users are responsible for reading and understanding license agreements.  Different licenses have different rights.  Common types of licenses include:

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Single users license

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Site license

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Lab pack

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Network license

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Freeware

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Shareware

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The Internet.  Courts have yet to make significant decisions on these issues.  Users are advised to observe the following guidelines:

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Email messages are owned by the author.  Because they are not published, "fair use" probably does not apply.  Permission should be obtained to distribute.

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Newsgroups and discussion lists can probably be posted in part or for non-profit use.

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Web pages use should follow the 4 "fair use" tests.

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Source/software coding should be considered as copyrighted materials.

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Multimedia.  Guidelines for work that includes parts of copyrighted materials in different format involves more complex issues because different formats have different copyrights.  Modifying media is not "fair-use."  In general, fair-use guidelines limits the types and amounts of material that may be used and how the resulting multimedia may be used and retained.  For more information, see Fair Use Guidelines for Educational Multimedia on my resource page.

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Copyright Notices
Fair Use
Fair Use Guidelines
Obtaining Permission
Distant Education
Issues on the Web

 

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This site contains copyrighted material the use of which has not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. Such material is being made available in an efforts to advance understanding of educational, environmental, political, human rights, economic, democracy, scientific, and social justice issues, etc. We believe this constitutes a 'fair use' of any such copyrighted material as provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. For more information go to: http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.shtml.  If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond 'fair use', you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.