A Definition of Copyright

Copyright is a federal law which gives copyright owners the following rights to their work:
    • Reproduction
    • Adaptation
    • Distribution
    • Performance
    • Display

Fair Use Exemptions

Section 107 of the federal copyright law has four exemptions. All four must be considered when deciding if fair use is involved. The four exemptions are:
    1. the purpose and character of the use, including whether such use is of a commercial nature or is for nonprofit educational purposes
    2. The nature of the copyrighted work
    3. The amount and substantiality of the portion used in relation to the copyrighted work as a whole
    4. The effect of the use upon the potential market for or value of the copyrighted work.

Copyright Guidelines for Student Multimedia Projects

  • On the opening screen and any print materials, you must put a notice that "certain materials are included under the fair use exemption of the U.S. Copyright Law, have been prepared according to the educational multimedia fair use guidelines and are restricted from further use." (Walters, 1998)
  • Acknowledge all your sources with a bibliographic citation
  • Use only lawfully acquired copyrighted works or self-created works. Be very sure that any pictures, files or text you take off the Internet says that you may use it, or write the webmaster/author for permission.
  • Follow the 10% rule of thumb. Ask the librarian or teacher if you have questions about how much of a song, video, picture or poem you can use. You may not modify scanned images.
  • Use your project only for class work and show it only to the students in your class.
  • Only 2 copies can be produced for use. One copy can be saved in a portfolio.