Fair use can be tricky for media projects because often the materials you are working with (film and audio clips) have multiple authors, and the content itself may be at varying stages of copyright. For this reason it is important to be as accurate as possible when citing your sources. Here are three things to consider when using copyrighted material in media:
Intellectual property is any creative or intellectual material (including things like blog posts, tweets, audio clips, snapshots, doodles, etc.) transferred from idea to physical form by an individual or individuals.
Copyright is a creator’s exclusive right to reproduce, prepare derivative works, distribute copies, and publicly perform and display their works." Copyright applies to almost all types of creative work, and, in the US is bestowed automatically, without registration. Recipes, fashion, and folks medicines are examples of creative output not protected by copyright.
Copyright protection generally lasts as long as the author’s life plus 70 years. Copyright for “works for hire” (works created by an employee for an individual or institution) lasts either 95 years after the date of publication or 120 years from creation; whichever is shorter. However, duration rules change somewhat for works created before 1978 and for foreign works. After copyright has expired the work enters the public domain and is fair to use without permission.
Fair use is an exception is US copyright law that allows certain exceptions to the author’s exclusive rights to their creative work. Fair Use is intentionally vague. The use of copyrighted material is considered fair by meeting majority of the following factors. They are:
Work created in the classroom already meets one of the four factors of fair use. However, some or all of the other three factors need to be considered when creating a work.
Creative Commons is a licensing system that allows authors to amend traditional US Copyright Law, and let others know how they'd like their work to be used and shared. A CC license signals the degree to which the creator is allowing their creative content to be used by others. You can find more information on the variety of Creative Commons licenses by visiting https://creativecommons.org/use-remix/cc-licenses/.
Keep a Record. Whether your permissions request is approved, ignored or denied, it is important to keep a record of your requests and the rights holder's responses. If the request is approved you may need to refer back to their response to determine if a potential new use is covered by the existing agreement. Factors that limit use could be the duration of the use, format, size of the audience, as well for the preferred citation when crediting the rights holder.