Copyright and Fair Use Scenarios and Resources

Here in the Office of Instructional Consulting (IC), questions regarding copyright and fair use are continually posed in regard to using and repurposing digital video, images, and other online resources for educational purposes.  Although there are lots of checklists and rules available for working within the bounds of copyright and fair use, most lists are only helpful in very cut-and-dry situations and often fail to account for most common instructional scenarios that involve complicated and cloudy situational factors.  Every scenario is different and situational or contextual factors can always cloud the final recommendation.

Having dealt so often with questions of copyright and fair use, We felt it would be useful to share some of the resources that we use in our office on a regular basis to make recommendations.  One type of copyright/fair use resource we find particularly useful that goes beyond a simple fair use checklist, and provides somewhat of a problem-based approach utilizes scenarios and recommendations.  The scenario approach is becoming more popular, but we have our favorite resource, which comes for the University of Minnesota.  We are find these scenarios very helpful not only for the context, but also because most of the scenario recommendations also provide justification and links to additional resources.

Our recommendation to faculty and instructors is to have a look at the copyright scenarios, and to use those in conjunction with a good copyright checklist when conducting their own fair use analysis.  Below are a list of some of the resources we use here in the IC:

Copyright / Fair Use Scenarios:

Copyright & Fair Use Information and Resource Centers:

Also of interest and usefulness for your own work may be alternatives to copyright that are growing in popularity, such as Creative Commons.

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