University Libraries.

Fair Use Best Practices

During the late 20th century there were a number of attempts to create fair use guidelines that would  provide a safe haven for various practices. Currently in the 21st century various groups have developed codes of best practices that describe appropriate fair use behaviors for various groups that are not for profit or educational in nature. Below are listed some of the most popular best practices with links for finding them.


Documentary Filmmakers' Statement of Best Practices in Fair Use

The Association of Independent Video and Filmmakers, Independent Feature Project, International Documentary Association, National Alliance for Media Arts and Culture, and Women in Film and Video, in consultation with PIJIP and the AU Center for Social Media.


Code of Best Practices in Fair Use for Online Video

Collaboratively created by a team of media scholars and lawyers, Best Practices will allow users to make remixes, mashups, and other common online genres with the knowledge that they are staying within copyright law. The code identifies, among other things, six kinds of unlicensed uses of copyrighted material that may be considered fair, under certain limitations.


Best Practices in Fair Use of Dance Related Materials

PIJIP and the Dance Heritage Coalition have collaborated to produce a guide for librarians, archivists, curators, and other collections staff who work with dance-related materials to use the fair use doctrine where they need presumptively copyrighted materials to meet their significant cultural, educational, and other institutional mandates.


Code of Best Practices in Fair Use for Poetry

This code of best practices helps poets understand when they and others have the right to excerpt, quote and use copyrighted material in poetry. To create this code, poets came together to articulate their common expectations, facilitated by Patricia Aufderheide, director of the Center for Social Media; Katharine Coles, director of the Harriet Monroe Poetry Institute at the Poetry Foundation; Peter Jaszi, Professor of Law in the Washington College of Law at American University; and Jennifer Urban, Professor of Law at the University of California Berkeley.


The Code of Best Practices for Academic and Research Libraries

This is a code of best practices in fair use devised specifically by and for the academic and research library community. It enhances the ability of librarians to rely on fair use by documenting the considered views of the library community about best practices in fair use, drawn from the actual practices and experience of the library community itself.


Code of Best Practices in Fair Use for Media Literacy Education

Developed by the Center for Social Media at American University, The Media Education Lab at Temple University, and The Program on Information Justice and Intellectual Property, Washington College of Law, American University. This guide identifies five principles that represent the media literacy education community’s current consensus about acceptable practices for the fair use of copyrighted materials, wherever and however it occurs: in K–12 education, in higher education, in nonprofit organizations that offer programs for children and youth, and in adult education.


Code of Best Practices in Fair Use for Scholarly Research in Communication

Created by the CInternational Communication Association, funded by the International Communication Association and the Ford Foundation, through the Center for Social Media’s Future of Public Media. This guide identifies four situations that represent the current consensus within the

community of communication scholars about acceptable practices for the fair use of

copyrighted materials.


Society for Cinema and Media Studies’ Statement of Best Practices in Fair Use in Teaching for Film and Media Educators

This is a code of best practices in fair use in teaching for film/media educators. It deals with classroom screenings, broadcasts, and derivative works.


Society of American Archivists. Orphan Works: Statement of Best Practices 

This statement describes what professional archivists consider to be best practices regarding

reasonable efforts to identify and locate rights holders. It is based on the authors’ knowledge of the kinds

of materials that are likely to qualify as orphan works and on their professional experience in trying to

obtain rights information for such works in the past.


Code of Best Practices in Fair Use for OpenCourseware

This document is a code of best practices designed to help those preparing OpenCourseWare (OCW) to interpret and apply fair use under United States copyright law.


Other codes of best practices are under development or are available widely.  A google search should provide a list of available ones. 


If you have any questions about copyright or other scholarly communication topics, please contact Lorre Smith at .


Blog post created by Lorre Smith

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