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Copyright Information Center

Guide to using copyrighted material in course content at Hofstra University.

Codes of Best Practices

The Center for Media & Social Impact at American University has worked with a number of professional organizations and associations to develop statements of best practices for fair use. These codes and principles reduce risk of copyright infringement by clarifying professional community standards. These can be especially helpful when you have a specific fair use situation related to teaching, research, or publication. Some examples: A student might wonder if she could include an image of a work by a contemporary artist in her master's thesis. A poet may be concerned about making allusions to the work of other poets, to advertising copy, or to content from journalism or pop culture. A budding journalist captures a scene from everyday life in a video report, but copyrighted music playing in the background of the scene was also recorded. The statements listed below outline many such scenarios, then discuss how the principles of fair use might apply; they also discuss limitations that would tend to negate a fair use argument.

Professor Peter Jaszi explains the codes: "The flexibility of fair use can lead users to wish for clearer rules or brighter lines. But the flexibility of fair use is its strength. Courts have emphasized that fair use analysis is fact- and situation-specific. In most cases, however, it is also quite predictable. Moreover, it can be made more so. Even without case law specifically addressing a use, judges and lawyers consider expectations and practice—whether the user acted reasonably and in good faith in light of standards of accepted practice in a particular field. One way of creating better understanding of what fair use permits is, therefore, to document the considered attitudes and best practices of a professional community." ("Fair Use Today," Code of Best Practices in Fair Use for the Visual Arts, College Art Association, 2015, p. 14).

Code of Best Practices in Fair Use for the Visual Arts from the College Art Association

Code of Best Practices in Fair Use for Academic and Research Libraries from the Association of Research Libraries

Code of Best Practices in Fair Use for Media Literacy Education from the Center for Media and Social Impact, American University

Documentary Filmmakers' Statement of Best Practices in Fair Use from the Center for Media and Social Impact, American University

Code of Best Practices for Fair Use in Poetry from the Center for Media and Social Impact, American University

Code of Best Practices for Fair Use in Online Video from the Center for Media and Social Impact, American University

Set of Principles in Fair Use for Journalism from the Center for Media and Social Impact, American University

Statement on the Fair Use of Images for Teaching, Research, and Study from the Visual Resources Association

Statement of Fair Use Best Practices for Media Studies Publishing from the Society for Cinema and Media Studies

Statement of Best Practices in Fair Use in Teaching for Film and Media Educators from the Society for Cinema and Media Studies

Code of Best Practices in Fair Use for Scholarly Research in Communication from the International Communication Association

Statement of Best Practices in Fair Use of Dance-related Materials from the Dance Heritage Coalition

 



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