Copyright and Education
What is"Fair Use"?
Copyright law allows portions of a copyrighted work to be used for specific educational purposes. This is referred to as"fair use." Hand replicating a cartoon character for a bulletin board is not necessary for learning and is not protected by fair use copyright. Handing out a photocopied comic strip for analysis is instructional (you are adding educational benefit) and would be protected under copyright law if you have written permission from the publisher.
Media Allowable Portion for Fair Use
Motion media (e.g., video)
Up to 10% or 3 minutes, whichever is
Up to 10% or 1000 words, whichever is
Music, Lyrics, Music Video
Up to 10%, but no more than 30
No more than 5 images from an
artist/photographer, or no more than
10% or 15 works from a published
Posting Course Materials Online
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~The Public DomainInformally, the public domain consists of works that are publicly available. But, just because you can access another's work online, does not mean you have the right to copy and use it.Items do not go into the public domain until:
- Any portion of original work that is copied or distributed online must be obtained legally. You must have written permission from the Publisher. The copying and distribution limitations are most restrictive regarding remote instruction (no Schoolwires webpages, but secure online learning management systems, for example Moodle, Wikispaces). Distribution must be limited to students enrolled in the course and there must be "technological limitations on access to the network and educational copy“ (such as a login, password, or PIN).
Type of Work
Copyright TermWhat was in the Public Domain as of January 1, 2014 ?
Works of Writing
Life of the author plus 70 years
Works from authors that died before 1944
Works Made for Hire-
120 years from date of creation
Works created before 1894
Works Published Abroad
95 years after publication date
Works published abroad before 1919
U.S. Federal Government Publications
All in the Public Domain~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~For Further Information1. Copyright and Fair Use Guidelines for Teachers by Technology and LearningSuggested Use: Reference document posted at each school copier/printer2. Fair Use Checklist by Kenneth D. Crews, Director of the Copyright Advisory Office,
Columbia Universitiy LibrariesSuggested Use: Checklist to help determine if copyright infringement is Fair Use3. Finding Public Domain & Creative Common Images Harvard Law School librarySuggested Use: Reference guide to help find and correctly attribute public domain and creative commons images for your project or presentationSuggested Use: Faculty/Staff presentation5. Script for Fair Use Presentation for Fair Use PowerPointSuggested Use: Faculty/Staff presentation