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Helpful Copyright Information
Remember: Being an educator does not automatically make all uses qualify as "fair use."
What is copyright infringement?
Copyright infringement is downloading or sharing copyrighted material, such as music or movies, without the permission of the copyright holder. Profit is not a necessary element for copyright infringement.
Ownership? Licensing vs. Purchasing
- "Ownership" of any item does not grant complete freedom to use it in any way.
- You license digital media such as audio and video, rather than purchase it. There may be greater restrictions on use.
- Ownership in one format (DVD) does not necessarily grant rights to convert to another format (streaming video).
- Even free (no-cost) content can be subject to copyright.
Why Should I Care?
- You, the individual faculty member, or the university may face potential consequences for copyright infringement.
- We as scholars and content creators should be respectful of the work of others.
- We should teach our students by example to be respectful of the works of others.
The Good News
- Fair use guidelines help protect your right to use content in certain ways, especially in a class for a curricular purpose.
- Some creators use Creative Commons or similar licenses, which are intended to provide more rights to content users.
- Some sites allow more freedom for use in nonprofit educational contexts.
Your Best Bets
- Use a Fair Use checklist (ilke this one from Columbia U.
) to gauge your intended use.
- Remember that fair use guidelines are exactly that: guidelines, not clearly defined rules. Only a judge can definitively decide whether or not a use was fair or infringing.
Great Videos on Copyright
Copyright on Campus
A brief, engaging introduction to academic fair use and copyright issues. Video from the Copyright Clearance Center.
A Fair(y) Use Tale
A funny, instructive, and creative way to demonstrate the fair use of copyrighted material using "snippets" from a particular organization that is very protective of its copyrights. Video from Stanford University.