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Media Copyright Guidelines

Fair use for materials in media formats is interpreted by guidelines developed by the University of Vermont Copyright Policy.

Section X of the UVM Copyright Policy specifically addresses copyright guidelines for multimedia presentations and materials:

X. The Conference on Fair Use Guidelines issued guidelines in 1997 under which educators may incorporate portions of lawfully acquired copyrighted works when producing their own, live, educational multimedia presentations. These guidelines, while not part of the copyright law, are generally followed by the courts. Note, however, that these guidelines do not apply in the cases of presentations that are available to the public online or sold commercially.  Note also that a court has recently held that these guidelines do not apply to e-reserves.  These guidelines provide that content may be included where the multimedia presentation includes:

a) No more than ten percent, or three minutes of a motion based work, whichever is less;
b) No more than ten percent and in any event no more than thirty seconds of a song or video;
c) No more than ten percent of a text; and 
d) Use of photographs and illustrations provided that no more than ten percent or fifteen images emanate from the same source, and no more than five images from any one artist or photographer.

Sections V and VI of the UVM Copyright Policy explain how media and other copyrighted materials may be used in classroom and online classsettings:

V. Copyright law allows for an exemption for the performance or display of copyrighted materials during face-to-face classroom teaching.  This includes the ability to show a full length movie during a class to facilitate discussion and learning.  This exemption only allows for the display or performance of a work, however, and does not allow for copying or distributing the work.


VI. The TEACH Act, a recent amendment to the copyright law,  helps to extend the face-to-face classroom teaching exemption to mediated distance learning online courses.  The Act exempts from liability the transmission of a performance or display of a copyrighted work by an accredited, non-profit educational institution to students officially enrolled in a specific course. The performance or display must be part of instructional activity at the direction or supervision of the class instructor, and the use must be an integral part of a class session.  Technological measures must also be applied to prevent students from retaining the works beyond the class session.

If you have questions regarding the use of copyrighted media materials in your teaching or scholarly projects please contact Aaron Nichols: aaron.nichols@uvm.edu; 6-3425

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