Copyright law makes special provision for displaying images, playing motion pictures or sound recordings, or performing works in classes. Section 110 of the Copyright Act allows the performance or display of copyrighted works in the course of face-to-face teaching. Students and faculty may develop and give classroom presentations that use copyrighted audiovisual materials without obtaining permission. As these instructional activities move beyond the classroom, or as we redefine "places of instruction" the situation becomes more complex since the rules for distance education are still evolving.
Uses of multimedia outside the traditional classroom should be analyzed using the four factors of fair use, and it is helpful to use the Fair Use Checklist (Columbia) to make your analysis. Some legal experts believe that classroom presentation of media may also be delivered via the Web to any location if instruction is occurring. Password protection for distribution of multimedia presentations is especially important when using copyrighted materials. For a closer look at your rights to transmit works to a distance education class see LSU Libraries TEACH Toolkit. Art slides, music, film clips, photographs and other media may have multiple copyright owners. However, fair use applies in all cases regardless of the medium.
Before you pay for use rights, check with your library to explore whether your use rights have been paid for or whether there are alternatives to paying a fee.
More information »
- Regents Guide to Understanding Copyright and Educational Fair Use -- University System of Georgia includes scenarios to illustrate fair educational uses.
- Fair Use Guidelines for Educational Multimedia, (Consortium of College and University Media Centers) --Explores the creation and use of multimedia by faculty and students. (Guidelines do not have the force of law).
- TEACH Toolkit (LSU Libraries)
More Information »
- Copyright Act of 1976
- Copyright Advisory Office (Columbia)
- Copyright Clearance Center
- Copyright Law of the U.S.
- Creative Commons
- Creative Commons in Education
- Digital Millenium Copyright Act
- Know Your Copy Rights Brochure (ARL)
- Statement on Fair Use and Electronic Reserves (ALA)
- TEACH Act
- TEACH Act, Analysis and Commentary (ALA)
- Trademark and other Intellectual Property Resource Guide
- U. S. Copyright Office
- Copyright Decision Map (Minnesota)
- Fair Use Checklist (Columbia)
- Fair Use Analysis Tool (Minnesota)
- Public Domain Calculator
- TEACH Act Toolkit (LSU Libraries)
- When Works Pass into the Public Domain (UNC)