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Copyright: Multimedia Fair Use Guidelines

Faculty and students producing multimedia were severely constrained by the copyright laws that were written before it was so easy to perfectly reproduce images, sounds and movies. Now there are guidelines for educators that describe what can legally be used, without seeking permission, in educational productions.

The guidelines were read into the United States Congressional record after months of intense effort, spearheaded by the Consortium of College and University Media Centers. Producers, distributors, filemakers, licensing agencies, production companies and educators all worked together to create these mutually acceptable guidelines.

Click to see the Guidelines.

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Copyright Laws & Guidelines

Copyright laws are confusing even to those who work with them regularly. Below is information about the major federal laws and guidelines to help educators determine what can legally be done with copyrighted work. Here is Binghamton University's copyright policy and other resources to help you understand copyright law.

Fair Use

“In determining whether the use made of a work in any particular case is a fair use the factors to be considered shall include, 1) the purpose and character of the use … 2) the nature of the copyrighted work, 3) the amount and substantiality of the portion used in relation to the copyrighted work as a whole; and 4) the effect of the use upon the potential market for or value of the copyrighted work.”

TEACH Act of 2002

The TEACH Act redefines educators’ rights to use copyrighted works for distance education, including classes using course management systems such as Blackboard.

Fair Use Guidelines for Educational Multimedia

These guidelines clarify fair use by articulating "safe havens" for educators and students developing multimedia projects to use copyrighted media materials.

Guidelines for Off-Air Recording of Broadcast Programming

These guidelines specify under what conditions television programs may be videotaped and used for educational purposes.

The Digital Millennium Copyright Act of 1998

There are several aspects of the DMCA, but of interest to educators is the restriction on the circumvention of technological measures used by copyright owners to protect their works, and the amended exemption for nonprofit libraries and archives in section 108 of the Copyright Act to accommodate digital technologies and evolving preservation practices.