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Fair Use and Online Video

Code of Best Practices 

Code of Best Practices in Fair Use for Online Video
This document is a code of best practices that helps creators, online providers, copyright holders, and others interested in the making of online video interpret the copyright doctrine of fair use. Fair use is the right to use copyrighted material without permission or payment under some circumstances.

This is a guide to current acceptable practices, drawing on the actual activities of creators, as discussed among other places in the study Recut, Reframe, Recycle: Quoting Copyrighted Material in User-Generated Video and backed by the judgment of a national panel of experts. It also draws, by way of analogy, upon the professional judgment and experience of documentary filmmakers, whose own code of best practices has been recognized throughout the film and television businesses. Read more...


Other Resources

Recut, Reframe, Recycle
Online videos frequently quote copyrighted material without permission, in ways that could be entirely legal through fair use. But these works are threatened by anti-piracy measures that do not distinguish adequately between legal and illegal uses. Read more...

Unauthorized: The Copyright Conundrum in Participatory Video
Suppose you're running an online video platform, and people start uploading video that uses other people's work. How should unauthorized use of other people's work be treated in this new environment? Read more...

The Good, The Bad and the Confusing: User-Generated Video Creators on Copyright
How do creators of content on the plethora of sites that accept online video understand their rights and responsibilities regarding intellectual property? Addressing this question is challenging, since the pool of creators is not only diffuse but constantly changing. In this study, undergraduate and graduate college students who upload online video were asked to describe their practices and attitudes on using copyrighted material to make new work and on the value to them of their own copyright. Read more...


Teaching Tools

Fair Use Teaching Tools
The Center for Social Media has created a set of teaching tools for professors who are interested in teaching their students about fair use. The tools include powerpoints with lecture notes, guidelines for in-class discussions and exercises, assignments and grading rubrics. We hope you'll find them useful! Read more...

Fair Use Language for Course Syllabi
In your syllabus, you often have some information on copyright. Here is some language to include in that section, specifically on fair use. This language has been reviewed by lawyers, including law professor Peter Jaszi of American University’s Washington College of Law and Michael Donaldson of Donaldson and Hart law firm, and it has been approved by the University Film and Video Association for use by its members. Read more...

Fair Use in Online Video Discussion Clips
For each video, consider the following questions: Why is this video fair use? What specific categories of fair use does the video employ? What arguments can you make for why this video is fair use? Read more...



Remix Culture: The Early Years 
When is it fair and legal to use other people's copyrighted work to make your own? What's the line between infringement and fair use? Take this tour of remix culture classics, and use the Code of Best Practices in Fair Use for Online Video to make your own decisions. Please share your thoughts with us on our blog. To download a quicktime version of this video right click here.

Untold Stories: Videos on Copyright and Fair Use
Check out videos on Copyright and Fair Use on our YouTube channel. These videos are part of the Untold Stories study conducted by the Center in conjunction with Washington College of Law. Read more...

Fair Use is Your Friend: Remix Culture
A video that explains why the Code for Fair Use in Online Video got created, and how the Code can help you create online videos that employ fair use of copyrighted material.

Fair Use Videos of the Month
Elisa Kreisinger is "a feminist video remixer making better stories about women that don't revolve around men (or babies!) through remix storytelling."  You can check out her work, including her most popular remix work of Sex and the City at her website . Here, she offers her choices for fair use video of the month. If you love them and feel inspired to make your own video, check out our Code of Best Practices in Online Video and Elisa's resources  and start remixing!