Copyright

Copyright basics for instructors, authors, and students.

Multimedia in Teaching

The Conference on Fair Use (CONFU) created guidelines to help educators use multimedia in their teaching. While these guidelines were not formally approved, they do provide a starting point if you need to use copyrighted multimedia in your class. Please consider these guidelines to be minimums; you may be able to use Fair Use or other parts of the copyright law to support using a larger portion of a work.

If you don't wish to be hampered by these considerations, you need to locate material that is in the public domain, offers a license that allows for the type of use you have in mind, or ask the copyright holder for permission to use their material.

  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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. 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.
  • 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.
  • Multimedia projects that are educationally-related are only valid for a duration of two years from the date of creation. After the two-year period has expired the content can no longer be displayed.

Permission-Free Image Sources

Muybridge race horse animated

From Wikimedia Commons.  Photos by Eadweard Muybridge; animation by Waugsberg.

Here are some resources that feature copyright-free images for various types of use.  Note that not all sites provide high-quality images, so they may not be suitable for some forms of publication.

Permission-Free Audio Sources