Fair Use – a best practice video

I became aware today, via a post on Kristin Hokanson blog, of a video release –  Remix Culture: Fair Use is Your Friend.  The video is spart of a collaborative project from a number of US tertiary instiutions, the chief being the Centre for Social Media.

It is designed to promote the Code of Best Practices in Fair Use. Kirsten points out that it also identifies six kinds of unlicensed uses of copyrighted material that may be considered fair, under certain limitations.

They are:

  • Commenting or critiquing of copyrighted material
  • Use for illustration or example
  • Incidental use or accidental capture of copyrighted material
  • Memorializing or rescuing of an experience or event (a cultural archive)
  • Use to launch a discussion
  • Recombining to make a new work, such as mashups or a remixes, whose elements depend on relationships between existing works.

Many students today are choosing to produce all different types of media to reflect their learning. It is being done at an amazing rate, one that educators did not predict. The students best and most creative work, (as well as their more personal reflections)  are now playing regularly on YouTube.

This is a video is one that that all educators should watch and share with their students and discuss the implications.

It is is just one of a series of videos about codes that outlines best practices. It can accompany others items such as The Code of Best Practices in Fair Use for Media Literacy Education

and the Documentary Filmmakers’ Statement of Best Practice in Fair Use (although this is at a much higher level)

The above can help explain the concepts and make it easier to discuss responsible mixing and mashing of commercial media with our students. These fair use videos and statements are not just for teacher librarians, librarians or teachers of media. Our school is a notebook school and all our teachers are encouraged to use the best, most appropriate technologies for whatever learning task our students are undertaking (beit digital or not).  

Fair use is not about following restrictive and prescriptive rules that include arbitrary time limits and codes that ignore all the new platforms we have for dialogue and commentary. Fair use requires reasoned and critical thinking for deciding as to whether a particular use of copyrighted material is a fair use. You must consider the rights of owners as well as your own needs and purposes as a  user.  We must teach our students how to make more ethical choices. We need to create a culture of responsible use. Teachers and students need to see that fair use is really about reasoning and logic. We need to  talk with our students about what fair means in today’s remix society. We need to step them through the reasoning processes and help them understand – And there are more and more materials available to help us do just this!


2 Responses

  1. Hi Rhonda,
    Thanks for writing about the Center for Social Media.
    We appreciate your support.
    If you want direct updates, shoot me an email and I’ll put you on our newsletter so you don’t have to rely on other third sources.
    Micael Bogar
    Projects Manager
    Center for Social Media

    • Thanks Micael. I would be interested in getting updates. It is very important for our staff and students to develop a good understanding of this area.

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