Copyright for Students
In most cases you do not need to worry about using copyrighted material in your coursework beyond making sure that you cite sources correctly. However, you should be aware that some restrictions apply if you are creating a multimedia presentation for a class.
Course Related Multimedia Projects
Students may incorporate portions of lawfully acquired copyrighted works when producing their own educational multimedia projects for a specific course.
Students may perform and display their own multimedia projects for educational uses in the course for which they were created and may use them in their own portfolios as examples of their academic work for later personal uses such as job and graduate school interviews. Note, however, that copyright restrictions would apply if you posted the project on a publicly accessible web page.
Fair use guidelines on the quantity of material used
These guidelines represent the minimum or "safe harbor" interpretation of Fair Use, and the use of more extensive excerpts would not necessarily violate copyright. However, if you feel your project requires using significantly larger excerpts than are given in the guidelines, it is recommended that you discuss the matter with your instructor before going ahead. Keep in mind that it is almost always a violation of copyright to use an entire work without first obtaining permission from the copyright holder.
- Motion media
Up to 10% or 3 minutes, whichever is less, in the aggregate of a copyrighted motion media work may be reproduced or otherwise incorporated as part of a multimedia project created for a course.
- Music, Lyrics, and Music Video
Up to 10%, but in no event more than 30 seconds, of the music and lyrics from an individual musical work (or in the aggregate of extracts from an individual work), whether the musical work is embodied in copies, or audio or audiovisual works, may be reproduced or otherwise incorporated as a part of a multimedia project. Any alterations to a musical work shall not change the basic melody or the fundamental character of the work.
- Text Material
Up to 10% or 1000 words, whichever is less, in the aggregate of a copyrighted work consisting of text material may be reproduced or otherwise incorporated as part of a multimedia project. An entire poem of less than 250 words may be used, but no more than three poems by one poet, or five poems by different poets from any anthology may be used. For poems of greater length, 250 words may be used but no more than three excerpts by a poet, or five excerpts by different poets from a single anthology may be used.
- Illustrations and Photographs
The reproduction or incorporation of photographs and illustrations is more difficult to define with regard to fair use because fair use usually precludes the use of an entire work. Under these guidelines a photograph or illustration may be used in its entirety but no more than 5 images by an artist or photographer may be reproduced or otherwise incorporated as part of an educational multimedia project. When using photographs and illustrations from a published collective work, not more than 10% or 15 images, whichever is less, may be reproduced or otherwise incorporated as part of an educational multimedia project.
- Numerical Data Sets
Up to 10% or 2500 fields or cell entries, whichever is less, from a copyrighted database or data table may be reproduced or otherwise incorporated as part of an educational multimedia project created under these guidelines. A field entry is defined as a specific item of information, such as a name or Social Security number, in a record of a database file. A cell entry is defined as the intersection where a row and a column meet on a spreadsheet.
Adapted from Conference on Fair Use (CONFU) Fair Use Guidelines for Educational Multimedia