Fair Use_High School

Is everything on the Internet OK for you to use? And what is Fair Use, anyway?


According to Stanford University Libraries, "Fair use is a copyright principle based on the belief that the public is entitled to freely use portions of copyrighted materials for purposes of commentary and criticism. For example, if you wish to criticize a novelist, you should have the freedom to quote a portion of the novelist's work without asking permission. Absent this freedom, copyright owners could stifle any negative comments about their work."
Fair use can be confusing and oftentimes the real definition is determined in the courtroom. The advent of the Internet has further blurred the line between infringement and Fair Use. Before using another person’s work, ask yourself a few basic questions: Is the work copyrighted? How much of the work will I use? What is my intent in using this work (is it for educational, personal/non-profit, or commercial)? Do I have permission to use this work? We want you to be responsible for what you use for school and personal uses and understand what fair use is. This wiki will provide some appropriate sources for you to use and guidelines on the following:
  • Text
  • Audio
  • Images
  • Video

Top Copyright Pitfalls

  1. Cutting & pasting the copyrighted information is not correct use of copyrighted materials.
  2. Typing "NO COPYRIGHT INFRINGEMENT INTENDED" on your product does not mean you're not infringing copyright.
  3. There is more to copyright than just adding the © symbol to your original work.
  4. Downloading a copyrighted image, removing the hyperlink, and changing the name is still copyright infringement.
  5. "I did not know it was copyrighted!!!" is not protection from copyright infringement.


Above video: "Fair(y) Tale Use of Copyright" by Stanford Law School
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V2MZi0tmzo0

Speeches and Sounds on Audio Files (MM)

American Rhetoric American Rhetoric uses speeches that are copyrighted and speeches in the Public Domain (not-copyrighted). If you use a copyrighted speech from an audio file, it can only be up to 30 seconds long. You will be in copyright infringement if you use the audio any longer than 30 seconds. (Stanford Universities Libraries Guidelines on Fair Use)
Microsoft Office Onlineaudio files can be used in student projects

Music Resources: (MM)

Film Music Moby.com provides copyright free music for students
http://www.partnersinrhyme.com/ This site has everything from Jazz music to quirky sound effects.
Creative Commons tip: click "Search for works I can modify, adapt, or build upon".

NOTE; Students may use up to 10% of copyrighted music and/or lyrics from an individual musical work for a student project.
(Stanford Universities Libraries Guidelines on Fair Use)

Copyright and Text: (LW)

  • Copyrighted text may be used for nonprofit educational purposes.
  • The copyrighted work may be used for the purpose of review, criticism, clarification, or illustration of the author's work.
  • Any excerpt of the author's work must be encased in quotation marks.
  • Entire passages may be quoted within reason; can not be the heart of the work.
  • Be sure to give the author(s) credit for their work with proper use of citations.

Facts You Should Know:
  • Some items cannot be copyrighted and are acceptable to use: Slogans, titles, names, and recipe ingredients fall into this category.
  • Works created from1923 through1977 are under public domain and are not copyrighted.
  • Do not assume that a work or item is not copyrighted because there is no copyright message attached to it.
  • An item may be trademarked instead of copyrighted, you can not make these items your own.

Copyright-Free Text Resources:

Images: (SB)

There are so many images available on the Internet, thanks to image-sharing websites like Photobucket and Flickr, and now they are very easy to find, thanks to Google Image Search. But just performing a keyword search is not the same as ensuring you've found copyright-free or Creative Commons-licensed images. Here are some tips to make sure you stay on the right side of copyright law:

  • Photographs of two-dimensional artwork (paintings, photographs, murals, prints) lack creative content on the part of the photographer and are not protected by copyright, so long as the artwork they represent is in the Public Domain (in the US, if they were created in 1923 or earlier).
  • In multimedia educational presentations (for example, a PowerPoint talk for a class project), "a photograph or illustration may be used in its entirety but no more than five images by an artist or photographer may be reproduced. When using photographs and illustrations from a published collective work, no more than 10% or 15 images, whichever is less." (Stanford University Libraries Guidelines on Fair Use)

Copyright-Free Image Resources:

Video: (LR)


The use of video for blogs, websites, or personal use is so easy to obtain with the Internet. But using video does have limitations. Keep these pointers in mind when using video:
  1. Make sure that the material being used is transformed and launches a discussion and does not have the same intent and purpose as the original. Mash ups may fall into this category.
  2. The material is used in proportion to your own ideas (i.e. You aren't using 70% of copyrighted material and only 30% of your own).
  3. What is the intent and after affect of your use of the materials? A positive use is viewed more favorably if someone wants to challenge you using their material.
Also, using 10% or 3 minutes, whichever is less, of legally obtained material is allowable under copyright law.

If you are confused, it's OK. The fair use of video is a new cultural medium which the courts are still trying to hammer out. You are on the cutting edge, but just be careful and follow the above guidelines and those posted here: The Center for Social Media



Here are some video resources:
  • Internet Archive - Open Source Movies
    • The search bar is right at the top and you can search for many kinds of open source movies, including arts & music and sports videos
  • It's true! Creative Commons, the non-profit organization that provides access to music, video, and images has it all. They provide video from multiple sources, including Google, BlipTV, and Yahoo!, among others that you can fairly use.
    • Make sure to check the box to "Search for works I can modify, adapt, or build upon."
    • Before you get started, follow this link Get Creative! to watch a video explaining Creative Commons first! (P.S. The White Stripes make an appearance)

Still Confused? Help is Here!

If you are still confused or have more questions about Fair Use, see your librarian or use these links: