Use Guidelines for Educational Multimedia
is Fair Use? Fair Use allows portions of a copyrighted work to be
used without the author's permission for specific purposes. Fair
Use refers to the use of a copyrighted work for purposes such as criticism,
comment, news reporting, teaching, scholarship, research or parody.
Fair use is not an infringing use. However, it is important to be
aware of the limitations. Factors used in determining whether the
activities constitute copyright infringement or fair use include:
purpose and character of use, nature of the copyrighted work, amount and
substantiality of the portion used, and the effect of the use upon the
we begin to incorporate video and audio streaming into our Blackboard
courses, it is important to keep in mind sections of the "Fair Use Guidelines
for Educational Multimedia." This includes motion media, text,
music, lyrics, and music video, as well as illustrations and photographs.
So, how does Fair Use apply to online courses? The Fair Use Guidelines
are not law but have become the standards to follow by educational institutions
and the courts. "Educational multimedia" is a broad category
that encompasses online teaching and learning. The limitations on
digital media are far more stringent on digital media than for other media
due to the ease of reproduction and distribution.
should make every effort possible to prevent the making of copies of copyrighted
material. Limitations are most restrictive when it comes to distance
learning. Distribution should be limited to students enrolled in
the course and there must be "technological limitations on access
to the network and educational multimedia projects (such as a password
or PIN)." These limitations address the amount of a single
copyrighted work that can be included, which may vary depending on the
media being used.
following guidelines are supported by the U.S. Copyright Office and U.S.
Patent and Trademark Office:
4.2.1 Motion Media
Up to 10% or 3 minutes, whichever is less, in the aggregate of a copyrighted
motion media work may be reproduced or otherwise incorporated as part
of a multimedia project created under Section 2 of these guidelines.
4.2.2 Text Material
Up to 10% or 1000 words, whichever is less, in the aggregate of a copyrighted
work consisting of text material may be reproduced or otherwise incorporated
as part of a multimedia project created under Section 2 of these guidelines.
An entire poem of less than 250 words may be used, but no more than three
poems by one poet, or five poems by different poets from any anthology
may be used. For poems of greater length, 250 words may be used but no
more than three excerpts by a poet, or five excerpts by different poets
from a single anthology may be used.
4.2.3 Music, Lyrics, and Music Video
Up to 10%, but in no event more than 30 seconds, of the music and lyrics
from an individual musical work (or in the aggregate of extracts from
an individual work), whether the musical work is embodied in copies, or
audio or audiovisual works, may be reproduced or otherwise incorporated
as a part of a multimedia project created under Section 2. Any alterations
to a musical work shall not change the basic melody or the fundamental
character of the work.
4.2.4 Illustrations and Photographs
The reproduction or incorporation of photographs and illustrations is
more difficult to define with regard to fair use because fair use usually
precludes the use of an entire work. Under these guidelines a photograph
or illustration may be used in its entirety but no more than 5 images
by an artist or photographer may be reproduced or otherwise incorporated
as part of an educational multimedia project created under Section 2.
When using photographs and illustrations from a published collective work,
not more than 10% or 15 images, whichever is less, may be reproduced or
otherwise incorporated as part of an educational multimedia project created
under Section 2.
4.2.5 Numerical Data Sets
Up to 10% or 2500 fields or cell entries, whichever is less, from a copyrighted
database or data table may be reproduced or otherwise incorporated as
part of an educational multimedia project created under Section 2 of these
guidelines. A field entry is defined as a specific item of information,
such as a name or Social Security number, in a record of a database file.
A cell entry is defined as the intersection where a row and a column meet
on a spreadsheet.
The following table will provide you with a quick summation of the Guidelines:
||Allowable Portion for Fair
| Motion Media (i.e. video)
|| Up to 10% or 3 minutes, whichever is less
|| Up to 10% or 1000 words, whichever is less
| Music, Lyrics, and Music Video
|| Up to 10%, but in no event more than 30 seconds
| Illustrations and Photographs
||No more than 5 images by an artist or photographer,
or no more than 10% or 15 works from a published collective work,
whichever is less
|Numerical Data Sets (i.e. databases, spreadsheets)
||Up to 10% or 2500 fields or cell entries, whichever
In conclusion, there are various things you can do to apply the Fair
Use Guidelines in your Blackboard course. First of all, make
sure the portions of copyrighted material you are using in your course
meet the standards of the Guidelines. Secondly, put the copyrighted
material in a section of your Blackboard course that is secured (using
Course Options in the Control Panel). Finally, make copyrighted
material available for no more than a 15-day period (this can be done
using the Availability option on your content), and your students should
be instructed not to make their own copies of the material.
If you are still not sure if you are within the Fair Use constraints
it may be a good idea to consult Pace's Legal Counsel.
Other Copyright/Fair Use Resources: