Well, I'm really excited! Check out this press release from the Center for Social Media:
TEMPLE UNIVERSITY Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19122
A Commonwealth University
Yes, You Can Use Copyrighted Material in the Classroom
New Code Outlines Five Principles of Fair Use for Teachers, Students
PHILADELPHIA, PA (November 11, 2008)— A national magazine tells a professor she needs
hundreds of permissions to use its cover photos in her class, when in fact, she could claim fair
use, which does not require payment or permission. Many teachers want to use YouTube as a
teaching tool but aren’t sure if it’s legal; others warn their students not to post their video
assignments to YouTube. Under fair use, both actions are legal.
All manner of content and media is now available online, but fear and misinformation have kept
teachers and students from using this valuable material, including portions of films, TV
coverage, photos, songs, articles, and audio, in the classroom.
Now, thanks to a coordinated effort by the media literacy community, supported by experts at
American University and Temple University, teachers and students have a guide that simplifies
the legalities of using copyrighted materials in an academic setting: The Code of Best Practices
in Fair Use for Media Literacy Education, available online at:
The code, which will be released on Tuesday, November 11, at the National Constitution Center
in Philadelphia, was developed by the National Association for Media Literacy Education, the
Action Coalition for Media Education, the National Council of Teachers of English, the Visual
Communication Studies Division of the International Communication Association, and the
Media Education Foundation, and facilitated by Peter Jaszi and Patricia Aufderheide of
American University and Renee Hobbs of Temple University.
Educators use copyrighted materials from mass media and popular culture in building students'
critical thinking and communication skills. For example, a teacher might have a class analyze a
website or a television ad to identify purpose, point of view, and source credibility. With the rise
of digital media tools for learning and sharing, it is more important than ever for educators to
understand copyright and fair use.
Fair use, a long-standing doctrine that was specifically written into Sec. 107 of the Copyright
Act of 1976, allows the use of copyrighted material without permission or payment when the
benefit to society outweighs the cost to the copyright owner.
“The fair-use doctrine was designed to help teachers and learners, among others,” said Peter
Jaszi, director of the Program on Information Justice and Intellectual Property at American
University’s Washington College of Law. “It's one of the best copyright tools teachers have.”
“Finally, copyright confusion among educators will be a thing of the past,” said Hobbs, founder
of Temple University’s Media Education Lab and professor of broadcasting,
telecommunications and mass media at the university’s School of Communications and Theater. “In an increasingly copyrighted world, the code of best practices clarifies copyright and fair use
for educators and students.”
The code, which outlines basic principles for the application of fair use to media literacy
education, articulates related limitations, and examines common myths about copyright and
education, is a follow-up to a 2007 report, The Cost of Copyright Confusion for Media Literacy.
The report found that teachers’ lack of copyright understanding impairs the teaching of critical
thinking and communication skills. Too many teachers, it found, react by feigning ignorance,
quietly defying the rules or vigilantly complying.
The Code of Best Practices in Fair Use for Media Literacy Education outlines five principles,
each with limitations:
Educators can, under some circumstances:
1. Make copies of newspaper articles, TV shows, and other copyrighted works, and use them
and keep them for educational use.
2. Create curriculum materials and scholarship with copyrighted materials embedded.
3. Share, sell and distribute curriculum materials with copyrighted materials embedded.
Learners can, under some circumstances:
4. Use copyrighted works in creating new material.
5. Distribute their works digitally if they meet the transformativeness standard.
As part of the project, the Center for Social Media has produced a video to help teachers and
students understand how they can use copyrighted materials. The Code, video and other
curriculum materials for educators are available at http://centerforsocialmedia.org/medialiteracy
and can also be found at http://mediaeducationlab.com/.
“The best practices approach has worked superbly for other creative communities, such as
documentary filmmakers,” said Aufderheide, director of American University’s Center for
Social Media, part of the university's School of Communication. “The code will empower
educators to work as creatively as they want to, with a much better understanding of their rights
under the law.”
This project was funded by the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, with additional
funding from the Ford Foundation.
For more information, contact Katie Donnelly at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Jazmyn Burton, Temple University, email@example.com, 215-204-7594
Maggie Barrett, American University Media Relations, firstname.lastname@example.org, 202-885-5951
One of my pet projects this year has been trying to get the role of the librarian in dealing with copyright issue changed from "copyright cop" to "copyright counselor." This document, I'm sure, will be a featured resource in my efforts.
According to Cathy Nelson, Joyce Valenza will be doing a live presentation tomorrow as well. Be there or be square!