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Copyright and Fair Use

in the Classroom
Charley Gregg
Spring 2016

Regarding Copyright
The Congress shall have Power To promote the
Progress of Science and useful Arts, by securing for
limited Times to Authors and Inventors the exclusive
Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries
- United States Constitution, Article 1,
Section 8
Copyright protects the rights of authors of original works
such as writings, books, music compositions, plays, films,
photographs and art. It is a law that gives authors of
original work the rights to sell, copy, distribute or publicly
display original works.

Infringing on Copyright is against the law!

Something as simple showing a documentary you
copied to your class could be in violation of the

From: https://openclipart.org/detail/69745/judge-hammer

Regarding Fair Use

Under the right circumstances, copyrighted material
may be used without permission from the copyright
holder, this is known as Fair Use. Fair Use allows
teachers to use some copyrighted material in the
classroom. Be careful, though. The fair use doctrine is
not a license to steal (Starr, 2010/2015)!
There are four main guidelines used to decide if use of
copyrighted material falls under Fair Use, they come
from the United States Copyright Office website

First Fair Use Guideline 1

Purpose and character of the use, including
whether the use is of a commercial nature or is for
nonprofit educational purposes.
- While non-profit educational purposes is specifically said
in this guideline, the US Copyright Office also says that
This does not mean, however, that all nonprofit
education and noncommercial uses are fair.
- Also transforming the original that adds something new
to a work may also lead more favorably to fair use

Fair Use Guideline 2

Nature of the copyrighted work .
Factual works (e.g. a news article) are more likely to fall
under Fair Use than something of a more creative work
(e.g. a novel).
Published works are more likely than unpublished works
to be considered fair.

Fair Use Guideline 3

Amount and substantiality of the portion used in
relation to the copyrighted work as a whole.
The more of the original work that you use, the less
likely it is to considered Fair Use. Be judicious in how
much of a work that use.
The importance of the section of the work used also
comes into consideration, the less significance of the
part of the work used, the more likely it will be
considered fair use.

Fair Use Guideline 4

Effect of the use upon the potential market for or value
of the copyrighted work.
If the copies will hurt the market for the original work,
this will weaken the Fair Use claim.

General Rules about what can be

used in the classroom.
A 250 word poem or 250 or less words of a longer
A chapter from a book.
A single chart, graph, diagram, drawing, cartoon, or
picture from a book, periodical, or newspaper.
Written work 2,500 words or less. For works longer than
that, 1,000 words or 10%, whichever is less.
Legitimately acquired videotapes and DVDs
This list is not exhaustive, following these rules is
no guarantee for Fair Use claims!

Copyright and Fair Use Animation by Common

Sense Education is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 3.0

Last Thoughts on the Subject

This presentation is absolutely, positively in no way
legal advice or should be used as a final say to
whether something falls within Fair Use guidelines. In
regards to Copyright and Fair Use it is often tough to
understand all the details. Every source I found in
regards to the subject said something along the lines of
When in any kind of doubt, get permission! I concur.

More Information on Fair Use| U.S. Copyright Office. (n.d.).
Retrieved February 20, 2016, from http://copyright.gov/fairuse/more-info.html
Starr, L. (2010). Is Fair Use a License to Steal? Retrieved
February 20, 2016, from
Starr, L. (2010). Is Fair Use a License to Steal? Retrieved
February 20, 2016, from