• Copyright FAQ

    What is "fair use”?
    Section 107 of the copyright act of 1976 includes teaching as one purpose which allows reproduction of works. Four factors determine fair use:
    • Purpose and character of the use, including whether such use is of commercial nature or is for nonprofit education purposes
    • Nature of the copyrighted work
    • Amount and substantiality of the portion used in relation to the copyrighted work as a whole
    • Effect of the use on the potential market for or value of the copyrighted work
    What proportion or amount of is permitted under fair use?
    Music: 10% or 30 seconds, whichever is less
    Motion Picture: 10% or 3 minutes, whichever is less
    Illustrations or Photographs: No more than five (5) images from one artist or photographer and no more than 10% or 15 images, whichever is less, from the collection
    May a teacher or student use 30 seconds of any recorded work?
    No. The work must be legally acquired and owned. An illegally downloaded song cannot be used in part in the classroom.

    Can images or sounds be downloaded from the Internet for any multimedia presentation?
    No, you need to consider where the multimedia presentation will be shown. Generally, if you follow the fair use guidelines for amount, you can include downloaded images and sounds for multimedia presentations shown in your classroom. However, if these are shown in public or uploaded to the school website, you need to have written permission to use the images and sounds.

    How do I gain permission to use downloaded images in a multimedia presentation to be shown beyond the classroom?
    There are several sites which have sample permission letters. A good one is http://www.ncsu.edu/midlink/posting.htmlKeep written permission on file.
    Can I use an image from the public domain?
    The public domain is more limited than most people think. Nothing published after 1978 will pass to the public domain until 2048.

    How do I cite the source of images?
    You need to look carefully at the source of the image. If the image has the copyright information on or near it, it should be shown the same way in your work. If this information does not show, cite it at the end of the work using the form appropriate to the student grade level. Suggested forms:
    How can students keep track of where they obtained each image from the Internet?
    As they collect images from the Internet, they should keep a word processing document running to paste in each exact URL with each image.