Copyright & Fair Use

Copyright & Fair Use

Have you ever wanted to share an image, a video clip, a song, or another form of media in your course, but did not know what your limitations were due to the confusion that copyright law restrictions left you with? As DuBoff (2007) reports, the Copyright Statute states that it is essential in this decision making process to evaluate 1) the nature of the work, 2) the nature of the use, 3) the extent of copying, and 4) the effect that the unauthorized copying will have on the copyright owner’s market and potential markets. By nature, doing this is a convoluted task and your state of perplexity is very common. In this video, we will introduce you to two resources that have been designed to help make the topic less cumbersome so that you can better justify what media you can and cannot use is your courses.


The first resource from the Stanford University Library provides a host of constantly updated information on the topic of Fair Use for educators including what is new, the law, background, charts and tools, libraries and education, and a blog in order to “help users evaluate copyright status and best practices”. It is a great library of resources that can help answer questions regarding copyright law and fair use policy.

The second is a resource provided by Baruch College and is a very well designed interactive guide to using copyrighted multimedia in your courses. Using the interactive guide, you will be able to better decide whether you can use a specific copyrighted media as part of your course without obtaining permission or how to better find and request answers to questions about using copyrighted media. This guide makes it very clear that it is designed to help you determine usability of audio, imagery, and video for use in class or over a secure online learning management system for distance education delivery such as Blackboard. It uses a “copyright metro” to help you navigate using guiding questions what restrictions you may or may not have as an instructor for using media. Go ahead, take a tour and give it a try.


Determining copyright infringement as an instructor can be a difficult task. Those of us in offices of academic technology want to equip you with tools that are useful for you to help determine copyright status and best practices. In this video, we have provided you with what we hope your find to be two valuable resources: the “Copyright & Fair Use” resource from Stanford and Baruch College’s “Guide to Using Copyrighted Media in Your Courses” which we think are worth bookmarking and referring back to when determining what media you can rightfully use.

  1. Copyright & Fair Use
  2. Baruch College’s Guide To Using Copyrighted Media in Your Course


Copyright and fair use. (n.d.). Retrieved from

Davis, J., Downing, A., Dugan, J.R., Neubacher, E., & Belland, J. (Designer). (2009). Interactive guide to using copyrighted multimedia in your courses. [Web]. Retrieved from

DuBoff, L. (2007). Copyright or Fair Use?. TechTrends: Linking Research and Practice to Improve Learning, 51(2), 13-14. Retrieved from ERIC database.

Author: Dave

LX Designer, entrepreneur & change agent. Immersed in collaborations that improve learning & working environments. Sometimes, I go fishing.

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