University of Michigan Copyright Resources
Guide to Copyright and Using Video
What you'll find in this guide on using film and videos -
- Acquire Video Content
- Obtain a License
- Using Creative Commons Video
- MiVideo and CTools
- Streaming Videos (goes to Askwith Media Library's guide)
- Examples of Acceptable Use
- Learn More
- Fair Use Myths
Copyright gives authors the ability to control the reproduction and distribution of their works. Generally, the use of a copyrighted work including videos requires permission. In order to promote learning, educational and classroom uses are an exception to this rule, but the exception is not absolute. For example, the TEACH Act protects many classroom uses of copyrighted material, however, the Act gives the use of video very little protection. For that reason, the best way for faculty to ensure that his or her use is protected is to follow the principles of fair use outlined below.
Fair use is a faculty member's most powerful tool when it comes to using the work of others in the classroom for the purpose of education. Fair use is a complicated law with lots of moving parts. Some scholars even say that fair use is not meant to be understood. The good news is that you don’t have to understand everything about it in order to put it to use.
At its heart, fair use is about “good faith.” Not good faith in the sense of not meaning anyone any harm (ignorance is never an excuse in the eyes of the law), rather, fair use is concerned with good faith as it applies to a general sense of fairness or equity. Fair use is just as concerned with “how” you are doing something as it is with “why.” There are many protected purposes, including education, that can have very blurry borders, and the determining factors often come down to whether or not you took more than you needed or whether or not there was an easy way for you to pay for what you used.
The following guide will outline the basics of fair use and provide you with general tips and principles to help you understand how fair use works in practice.
The information presented here is intended for informational purposes and should not be construed as legal advice. If you have specific legal questions pertaining to the University of Michigan, please contact the Office of the General Counsel.
If you believe your copyright has been infringed on a web site hosted by the University, please contact our DMCA agent.