What the heck is Fair Use?

I’ve been a teacher for over ten years and the confusion over copyrighted materials is still a frustration for me and most of my colleuges.  So what are the rules, what media can we use, how do we give credit and what the heck is Fair Use.  And finally, do all this rules still apply when teaching abroad in Asia??

I found this video a while ago and I love how it explains copyright law and fair use using Disney clips.  It’s such a great use of Fair Use itself because it is not only teaches but it also uses parody.

Since copyright law has such a big grey area, it’s really hard to teach kids what exactly they can do and what they can’t.  It comes down to common sense and also showing them resources they can use without running into problems.  By the way, my favorite site for getting royalty-free pictures is MorgueFile.

I also think morality should be discussed when talking about using other work whether you are in the US or abroad.  It’s just not cool to steal other people’s work without giving them credit, this is especially the case when you are planning to make money off of their work.  Here are some guidelines for using copyrighted material; and when to ask for the publisher’s permission.  In school, most uses of copyrighted material fall under fair use because it is used for teaching.  Students still however should learn how to credit author’s properly.

So how do you cite online sources properly?  Here is a great page from Creative Commons on practices for attribution.  Also, this Addon to your browser http://openattribute.com/ helps you attribute creative commons media correctly.


my picture for FAIR Use from Morguefile so I don’t even have to site it


Photo credit for header: http://synergiseducation.com/blog/creative-commons/