Fair Use in Media Literacy Education

Many instructors lack information on what and how they can use various media in their classrooms without violating fair use. To learn how to use copyrighted material appropriately, the Center for Social Media has a downloadable report, The Code of Best Practices in Fair Use for Media Literacy Education.

This document is a code of best practices that helps educators using media literacy concepts and techniques to interpret the copyright doctrine of fair use. Fair use is the right to use copyrighted material without permission or payment under some circumstances—especially when the cultural or social benefits of the use are predominant. It is a general right that applies even in situations where the law provides no specific authorization for the use in question—as it does for certain narrowly defined classroom activities.

This guide identifies five principles that represent the media literacy education community’s current consensus about acceptable practices for the fair use of copyrighted materials, wherever and however it occurs: in K–12 education, in higher education, in nonprofit organizations that offer programs for children and youth, and in adult education.

Related links from the NCTE Inbox:
Fair use and copyright for educators (Traci Gardner)

Elementary Teachers
Research building blocks for elementary classrooms

Middle Level Teachers Campaigning for Fair Use: Public Service Announcements on Copyright Awareness
Inquiry on the Internet: Evaluating Web Pages for a Class Collection
Exploring Plagiarism, Copyright, and Paraphrasing
Copyright Law: From Digital Reprints to Downloads

Secondary and College Teachers
Creative Outlining--From Freewriting to Formalizing
The Ten-Minute Play: Encouraging Original Response to Challenging Texts
Modeling Academic Writing Through Scholarly Article Presentations