Fair Use Week – Fair Use in Online Instruction

This week is Fair Use Week, a dedicated time to promote and discuss the opportunities Fair Use gives us in our daily activities. Fair Use is probably the most powerful component of U.S. Copyright law, and the most misunderstood. Section 107 of the U.S. Copyright Act describes Fair Use as a limitation on the exclusive rights of copyright holders for purposes such as “criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching (including multiple copies for classroom use), scholarship, or research.” Fair Use is often referred to as the breathing space for free speech, free inquiry, and the open exchange of ideas in copyright law – the Supreme Court has explicitly recognized this as a “First Amendment safeguard.” It’s what allows us to include quotations from published sources in our scholarship, share Youtube videos with our friends on Facebook, record episodes on our DVR for later, and read interesting fan fiction. And, it’s one of best tools to have in your pocket when designing an online course (see Fair Use in a Day in the Life of a College Student).
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