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Intellectual Property: Copyright, Fair Use, Permissions, and Citations

Best Practices for Media Project

Best Practices

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:

  • Always cite the works you use in your projects. This includes video, audio clips, images, documents, quotes, and ideas you found in your research. Even if you do not intend to publish or put your work online, it is good practice to cite all your sources.
  • Use small amounts of quoted texts, audio or video files. The rule of thumb is to use only 10% of the original work. For an average length song that's between 3-5 seconds.
  • If you are posting your project online, avoid making the material public unless you’ve secured permission from the rights holders in writing, or you are certain the material is in the public domain, or meets the standards of fair use. 
  • Include show notes to direct listeners back to your sources where possible.