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!
These powerpoints with lecture notes were designed to help professors teach students the basic information they need to understand how to use fair use when making documentary fllms and online videos. The powerpoints cover copyright, the idea of best practices, the general concept of fair use, and the specific categories and applications of fair use for documentary filmmakers and online video makers, respectively.
For the powerpoint on fair use in documentary film, click here.
For the powerpoint on fair use in online video, click here.
In-Class Discussion and Exercises
Fair Use Scenarios: (To be used with the Documentary Filmmakers' Statement of Best Practices in Fair Use) Here are 4 filmmaking scenarios where students are called upon to determine whether they have a fair use right to use certain copyrighted footage, and if there are limits to that right.
There are several ways you can approach this for an in-class discussion: you could divide the class into groups and have every group discuss the same scenario and then come back together to see if groups agree. Or you could divide up the class and give every group a difference scenario to discuss. The groups could then report back and see if their classmates agree or disagree with them. Finally, you could choose one scenario and divide the class in half. Have one group argue for fair use and one argue against fair use. Whose argument is stronger and what does the class ultimately believe is the right answer? In all of these, emphasize the importance of being able to articulate specific reasons they believe something is fair use (or is not). How is the copyrighted material transformed or not transformed? Is the amount of use proportional to the intention?
Fair Use Discussion Clips: Here are two sets of fair use clips for professors to use for in-class discussion: one for use with the Documentary Filmmaker's Statement of Best Practices in Fair Use, and one for use with the Code of Best Practices for Fair Use in Online Video. Since being able to defend the fair use decisions you make is critical to successfully using fair use, these clips allow students to practice explaining why something is fair use. You could look at these together as a whole class and then see what reasons people could come up with. Or, as above, you could divide the class into groups to decide and then report back.
This set of fair use clips is designed to be used with our Documentary Filmmaker's Statement of Best Practices in Fair Use. Read through the code, and then see if students can 1) identify which category each of the video clips falls under; and 2) articulate why the video is fair use. Students should use the reasoning from the Code, and make sure to cite specific examples from the video. What did the filmmakers do that transformed the material from its original context? Have them give any and all arguments that they think explain why the video is fair use.
Access the documentary film clips here. Access the key, which identifies the categories of fair use and explains why the clips are fair use, here.
This set of fair use clips is designed to be used with our Code of Best Practices for Fair Use in Online Video. Read through the code, and then see if students can 1) identify which category each of the video clips falls under; and 2) articulate why the video is fair use. Students should use the reasoning from the Code, and make sure to cite specific examples from the video. What did the video-makers do that transformed the material from its original context? Have them give any and all arguments that they think explain why the video is fair use.
Assignments and Grading
Online Video (or Mashup) Assignment: Here are guidelines for a short video production assignment that requires students to incorporate copyrighted material into a video and defend the decisions they make using the Code of Best Practices in Online Video. The assignment includes resources for where students can find copyrighted material and how to go about downloading it, as well as a rubric for grading.
Access the assignment guidelines here.
Access the grading rubric (for this and other production-based fair use assignments you might come up with) here.
Fair Use Analysis Assignment: Additionally, here is an assignment, similar to the discussion prompts above, that requires students to articulate why a video clip is fair use. The assignment will work with either the Documentary FIlmmakers' Statement of Best Practices in Fair Use or the Code of Best Practices in Fair Use for Online Video. The assignment also includes a rubric for grading.
Access the assignment guidelines for analyzing fair use in documentary film here.
Access the assignment guidelines for analyzing fair use in online video-making here.
Here is a collection of videos that do a good job of explaining the Codes of Best Practices and the idea of Fair Use:
Fair Use and Free Speech explains the Documentary Filmmakers' Statement of Best Practices in Fair Use. It shows when and how it is legal to use copyrighted material within a documentary film.
A Guide to YouTube Removals
The Electronic Frontier Foundation has created a great guide that explains why videos get taken down off YouTube and how you can respond if you believe your video was taken down unfairly.
When is it fair and legal to use other people's copyrighted work to make your own? What's the line...
CourtTV used a small excerpt of the same footage of Reginald Denny
Los Angeles New Service v. KCAL-TV, 1999 & Los Angeles New Service v. Reuters Television...