Snappy title right? Makes you think I am gonna give you the final word on what you can and can not use in your classroom or on your website or in a brochure. Well, you are right. It is a snappy title!
But In reality, the question of Copyright vs Fair Use is one that only attorneys and copyright holders can really answer. In the next few paragraphs, I will share with you some links that I have found that might give you a better understanding. They may also just leave you more confused than before. I will also leave you a couple of links to some webinars I have participated in trying to find the answers to questions that bother me most.
I have been concerned about Copyright and fair use since the mid 80’s, when in the early days of my career, we had a lending library for business and industry. Because we were in the education business, it seemed to be ok to transfer training films (yes, in those days they were primarily on 16mm film) to 3/4″ u-Matic tapes. After all, it was for use in training and education. Then the laws changed and said that you could not transfer and copy unless you had permission . I remember we had purchased a film series and the question was what happens if the film breaks, or just wears out or gets old. We were told we could buy a new set of films.
With the onset of low cost digitizers, it has become easier and easier for folks to DVR something off cable or satellite, then use it in the classroom. Or rip a CD or DVD for use in the classroom. And with Youtube and other video sharing sites popping up, software engineers have developed software to download files from the web to your desktop. Is it legal? That is something for you to decide.
But before you make a decision, I would ask you to please take some time and really go through these links and see what these experts have to say. Because the last thing any of us wants to do is wind up paying a hefty fine for copyright infringement.
Links to Helpful Info
- Youtube Fair Use Information
- US Copyright Office
- US Copyright Office – Fair Use
- Stanford University Copyright Site
- Stanford University Fair Use
- American University School of Communication Fair Use
- American University School of Communication Best Practices for Fair Use of Online Video
- American University School of Communication Victory for Fair Use and DMCA Exemptions
- American University College of Law Best Practices
- FAQ about Copyright and Fair Use
- Copyright, Creative Commons and Databases-Special Guests: Joyce Valenza and Buffy Hamilton
- Copyright and Creative Commons-Special Guest Kristin Hokanson
Let me just say that Creative Commons licensing is a genuinely good thing, and you can find some good music and photos and even some videos you can use for free so long as you follow the CC guidelines. And it’s also possible if everyone were to share some of the content that we create ourselves, we could really generate a world wide library of Creative Commons licensed content that we could all use.
In closing, just remember: Copyright infringement is illegal. Speeding is illegal. You are the one who has to make the call.
And as usual, comments, thoughts, and feedback are always welcome.
- Finding Images For Your Blog – Copyright Considerations (bloggingtips.com)
- Be Careful What You Wish For: Copyright Infringement Amongst Copyright Enforcers (unblawandtech.com)
- Common Creativity: Understanding the Rules and Rights Around “Free” Images on the Web (problogger.net)
- Copyright for Educators (Free Online Course) – from the new School of Open (elearningcentralia.wordpress.com)
- Fair Use and Copyright (hogewash.com)
- A Guide To Copyright Law for Online Businesses (rypmarketing.com)