Tangible media that can be protected through a copyright include songs, movies, books and artwork. Since copyrighted works are protected, they often require special permission or licensing for use with groups, including classrooms.
Fair use permits the unlicensed use of copyright-protected works in certain circumstances. Teaching is an activity that qualifies as fair use. When determining fair use, four factors should be considered,
- the purpose and character of the use;
- the nature of the copyrighted work;
- the amount and substantiality of the portion use in relation to the whole work; and
- the effect of the use upon the potential market.
The right to show video in the classroom doesn’t rely on fair use. In fact, there is a separate part of copyright law that lets teachers show video in class. However, consider these four points. You can show video:
- During face-to-face teaching
- When viewed in a classroom or other place of instruction
- With a lawfully made copy
- As a regular part of instruction and directly related to content being taught
Copyright & Fair Use Resources
This is the U.S. Copyright Office website. You can learn just about anything you want to know about the copyright law and its history. Be sure to check out the Education section.
The University of Maryland, University College Library discusses copyright, fair use, and Creative Commons on the Get Help section of their website.
Copyright and Fair Use Guidelines for Teachers
This PDF resource was created by Hall Davidson. It is a great reference for teachers when it comes to fair use and the variety of mediums we use in the classroom. The downloads section of his website has a great selection of copyright resources.
Copyright and Intellectual Property
Kathy Schrock’s website is always a great resource for educators. She has a section all about copyright and intellectual property with resources for classroom use and educator learning.
Common Sense Media
Common Sense Media offers a free, K-12 digital citizenship curriculum. Creative Credit/Copyright is one of the eight topics the lessons focus on. These lessons are a great way to help students become positive, productive digital citizens.
Media Education Lab
This is a good resource for media literacy education. Teachers can find a variety of teacher resources focus on media literacy, including copyright, as well as professional development opportunities.