Copyright and Fair Use Guidelines for Educational Multimedia

Copyright laws govern the use of copyrighted materials. Teachers and students may use copyrighted materials for educational projects and learning activities, but they must follow specific “fair use” guidelines.

When creating presentations with copyrighted materials, you need to include an opening screen in addition to your works cited page at the end of the presentation. Your opening screen should contain the text in the following blue box. Simply copy and paste this text onto your page. Visit the Creating Presentations web page for more information.

NOTICE: The following presentation contains copyrighted materials used under the Multimedia Guidelines and Fair Use exemptions of U.S. Copyright law. Further use is prohibited.

Fair use guidelines strongly advise obtaining permission from copyright owners whenever possible. Acknowledgement of copyright, including copyright symbol ©, is required. Penalties may be imposed for unauthorized copying or use of audio, visual or printed material and computer software without following the fair use guidelines listed below.

These fair use guidelines only apply to teacher or student-created items for instructional or educational purposes. For fair use to apply, work must be for instructional purposes, not for personal use.

Items can be used for specific periods

  • Items created by teachers may be used without permission for a period of up to two years after the first instructional use.
  • Material copied by teachers may be used for only one course term.
  • Items may be kept in student portfolios as examples of academic work for any length of time.
  • Video, recorded from television, can be shown for up to 10 days from original broadcast.

Some reproduction of information from the internet is allowed, some is not

  • Copying information from one website onto another website is not permissible.
  • Creating a link to another website is permissible.
  • Using copyrighted information from the web in multimedia projects is permissible.

Citing Ownership

  • Citations should be presented in MLA format on a Works Cited page or in the presentation (ex. last slide of a PowerPoint).
  • See examples of properly cited resources on the Creating Presentations page.

Different types of information are subject to different limits

Use of intellectual property is subject to limitations, which may vary with the type of information.

  • Text and data limits
    For text and data, educational fair use allows the reproduction of:
    • Up to 10%, but no more than 1,000 words, of a single copyrighted work (essays, articles, stories, etc.).
    • Up to 250 words of an entire poem (or a portion of the poem).
    • No more than three poems or excerpts by a single poet, or five excerpts by different poets from a single anthology.
    • Up to 10%, but no more than 2,500 fields or cell entries, from a database or data table.
  • Illustrations and photograph limits
    Copyrighted images used on a web page must be displayed with the creator’s name. Educational use may include reproduction of any of the following:
    • A photograph or illustration used in its entirety.
    • No more than five images by a single artist or photographer.
    • Up to 10%, but no more than 15 images, from a single published collection.
    • One chart, graph, diagram, cartoon, or picture per book or periodical issue.
  • Motion, music, lyrics, and video limits
    Alterations to a musical or motion media work cannot change the basic melody or the fundamental character of the work. Performance rights must be purchased prior to use in a public performance. Educational use may include:
    • Up to 10%, but no more than three minutes, of a single copyrighted motion media work.
    • Up to 10%, but no more than 30 seconds, of music and lyrics from a single musical work.
    • Up to 10%, but no more than three minutes of a video.
    • Online videos may not be downloaded unless the owner of the video gives consent.
    • Videos from subscription databases, such as Britannica, may be used.

Information for this publication was obtained from the Copyright Act of 1976.