What is Fair Use?
“Fair use is a limitation and exception to the exclusive right granted by
copyright law to the author and a creative work. In United States copyright
law, fair use is a doctrine that permits limited use of copyrighted material
without acquiring permission from the rights holders. Examples of fair use
include, commentary, search engines, criticism, news, reporting, research,
teaching, library archiving and scholarship. It provides for the legal,
unlicensed citation of incorporation of copyrighted material in another author’s
work under a four factor balancing testfour factor balancing test”.
Selected Guidelines from Fair Use Law
1. Classroom Guidelines ~ Photo copying materials for
2. Off Air Guidelines ~ Recording a television broadcast for the
later use or “performance” in teaching.
3. Music Guidelines ~ Copying of sheet music for classroom
performances and recording and duplicating student
performances of copyrighted music.
(Copyright Advisory Office. www.copyright.columbia.edu)
Classroom Guidelines1. SINGLE COPYING FOR TEACHERS:
A single copy of the following items may be made for a teacher's scholarly research or use
in teaching or preparation to teach a class:
1. A chapter from a book.
2. An article from a periodical or newspaper.
3. A short story, short essay or short poem, whether or not from a
4. A chart, graph, diagram, drawing, cartoon or picture from a book,
periodical or newspaper.
(Copy Advisory Office. www.copyrightcolumbia.com)
Example of how this can be used:
In a American History class, a unit on the Revolutionary War and the hardships
on soldiers due to weather. There are a lot of books that describe in detail what
soldiers went through to endure these conditions. A chapter from one of these books
would work well in this situation.
A math class could be working on keeping track of the stock market. A teacher
would need copies for each student from that particular news paper section.
In English class, a teacher could be doing a unit on Poe and be in need of one of
his poems that blend in with the theme.
Social Studies class studying population trends would need graphs or diagrams
from early 19th
century to compare with today.
Emergency copying to replace purchased copies which for any reason are not available for an imminent
performance provided purchased replacement copies shall be substituted in due course.
For academic purposes other than performance, single or multiple copies of excerpts of works may be
made, provided that the excerpts do not comprise a part of the whole which would constitute a
performable unit such as a section, movement or are
a, but in no case more than 10 percent of the whole work. The number of copies shall not exceed one copy
Printed copies which have been purchased may be edited or simplified provided that the fundamental
character of the work is not distorted or the lyrics, if any, altered or lyrics added if none exist.
A single copy of recordings of performances by students may be made or evaluation or rehearsal
purposes and may be retained by the educational institution or individual teacher.
A single copy of a sound recording (such as a tape, disc, or cassette) of copyrighted music may be made
from sound recordings owned by an educational institution or an individual teacher for the
purpose of constructing aural exercises or examinations and may be retained by the educational
institution or individual teacher. (This pertains only to the copyright of the music itself and not to
any copyright which may exist in the sound recording.)
(Music Library Association. www.copyright.musiclibraryassoc.org)
Example of how this can be used:
A high school class is giving their Holiday concert and somehow, the music for the soprano section was
lost. Hypothetically, 9 out of 12 copies were misplaced and could not be found. In order to get
through the concert, copies can be made for those 9 students. This is allowed but the missing
copies must be purchased and the copied sheet music must be destroyed.
Off Air Guidelines1. The Guidelines were developed to apply only to off-air recording by non-profit educational institutions.
2. A broadcast program (including cable programs) may be recorded off-air and retained by a non-profit educational
institution for a period not to exceed the first forty-five (45) consecutive calendar days after the date of
3. Off-air recording may be used once by individual teachers in the course of relevant teaching activities, and repeated
once only when instructional reinforcement is necessary in classrooms and similar places devoted to instruction
within a single building, cluster, or campus, as well as in the homes of students receiving formalized home
instruction, during the first ten (10) consecutive schools days in the forty-five (45) day calendar day
retention period. "School days" are school session days--not counting weekends, holidays, vacations,
examination periods, or other scheduled interruptions--within the forty-five (45) calendar days retention period.
4. Off-air recordings may be made only at the request of and used by individual teachers, and may not be
regularly recorded in anticipation of requests. No broadcast program may be recorded off-air more than once
at the request of the same teacher, regardless of the number of times the program may be broadcast.
5. A limited number of copies may be reproduced from each off-air recording to meet the legitimate needs of teachers
under these guidelines. Each additional copy shall be subject to all provisions governing the original recording.
6. After the first ten (10) consecutive schools days, off-air recordings may be used up to the end of the forty-five (45)
calendar day retention period only for teacher evaluation purposes. i.e., to determine whether or not to include
the broadcast program in the teaching curriculum, and may not be used in the recording institution for student
exhibition or any other non-evaluation purpose without authorization.
7. Off-air recordings need not be used in their entirety, but the recorded programs may not be altered from their original
content. Off-air recordings may not be physically or combined or merged to constitute teaching anthologies or
8. All copies of off-air recordings must include the copyright notice on the broadcast program as recorded.
9. Educational Institutions are expected to establish appropriate control procedures to maintain the integrity of these
(U C Berkeley Library. www.lib.berkeley.edu)
Example of how this can be used:
I think this would apply in a drama class situation. A teacher could record a professional broadway play for the students to
view while performing for their own play so that they may achieve maximum performance by studying the video.
Under copyright laws, certain materials may be used but there are
definite guidelines as to the specific use of copyrighted material.
Before infringing on any law, make sure that you know who you are
going to use it and if it is adhering to the selected guidelines of the
Fair Law use.