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Fair Use for Online Video

The Center for Social Media, American University School of Communication, has published a Code of Best Practices in Fair Use for Online Video. Click here to download full report in PDF.

The Code was developed by a committee of copyright scholars under the chairmanship of Peter Jaszi and Patricia Aufderheide. The document developed by the committee 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.

The Code sets forth five possible applications of fair use to online videomaking.

1. Commenting on or critiquing of copyrighted material.

2. Using copyrighted material for illustration or example.

3. Capturing copyrighted material incidentally or accidentally.

4. Reproducing, reposting, or quoting in order to memorialize, preserve, or rescue an experience, an event, or a cultural phenomenon.

5. Copying, reposting, and recirculating a work or part of a work for purposes of launching a discussion.

This is a well-written document that will be useful to schools and libraries in determining whether their uses of copyrighted materials in online videos fall within fair use. For links to other useful materials on copyright, see MLC’s Copyright Links web page.