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Copyright Issues: Online Multimedia in an Educational Setting

Please note that I am not an attorney and do not have legal training. These links are provided to help users gain general knowledge about copyright relating to multimedia. While these resources have all been chosen using the Criteria for Pathfinders I cannot guarentee that all of the information is 100% accurate. The rapid changes in technology mean that there are regular changes to the specifics for remaining in compliance with copyright law. If you have a specific compliance question it is best to consult a legal expert in copyright law. This pathfinder is focused on the United States.

Sections 108 and 110

  1. 108 Study Group from the Library of Congress
    It includes information about the group, brief information about digital copyright, and links to information about section 108.
  2. Section 108: Limitations on exclusive rights: Reproduction by libraries and archives
  3. Title 17, Section 110: Limitations on exclusive rights: Exemption of certain performances and displays
    Title 17, section 110 involves fair use in relation to specific types of performances and displays

US Government

  1. Library of Congress: Copyright and Digital Distance Education
    This page addresses issues in distance education, but it does not give comprehensive examples.
  2. US Copyright Site: Main Page
    This page includes an extensive site includes a faq, copyright basics, official law and policy, fact sheet, searching capabilities, and other information relating to United States copyright laws

General Multimedia Copyright Information

  1. WATCH: Writers, Artist, and Copyright Holders
    This site from the University of Texas allows the user to search a database for copyright contacts. The database includes some writers, artists, and prominent figures in other creative fields. It is not comprehensive and is for the United States and United Kingdom only. The site also includes a links list
  2. The Berne Convention, revised
    This is a full copy of the Berne Convention for the Protection of Literary and Artistic Works (Paris Text 1971). The Berne treaty covers copyright on an international scale.
  3. Chilling Effects: Copyright
    and Derivative Works
    This site is in favor of a broader interpretation of fair use, but includes links and references to more conservative interpretations of copyright law.
  4. Brown University Copyright and Fair Use
    This site briefly explains copyright and how to get permission for different types of works including still images, audiovisual, and music
  5. Trademarks, Copyrights, and Patents
  6. Trademark and Other Intellectual Property Resource Guide

Copyright Resources from Libraries

  1. University of California system's on Fair Use
  2. TEACH ACT: Comparison to older law (University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill)
  3. Dartmouth's Copyright Policies (including digital media)
    This page addresses the copyright restrictions for a few scenarios.
  4. Multimedia Projects for Educational Purposes: Fair Use Guidelines
    This chart includes how much of a work may be used.
  5. Copyright (University of Michigan)
    This new site includes policies and some links.
  6. Copyright Resources Online (Yale University)
    This page is a long list of links to copyright related articles and resources from various universities. There are some dead links, but the majority are still active.
  7. Copyright & Intellectual Property (University of California, Davis)
    This site includes policies and links to information about various forms of intellectual property in higher education including information about obtaining permission. It includes information both about using copyright works in teaching and research.
  8. Copyright and Fair Use in Higher Education and Policies (University of Buffalo)
    This page links to their policies and pages with copyright information in different scenarios. There are links to legal cases related to the scenarios.
  9. Patents, Trademarks, and Copyrights


  1. Public Performance Rights FAQ and Copyright
    This is from the distributor Swank and thus some of the safest information.
  2. Motion Picture Licensing Corporation
    The Motion Picture Licensing Corporation is a good source for information about copyright for media. It also provides an Umbrella License for non-commercial movie exhibitions.
  3. Copyright Clearance Center
    The Copyright Clearance Center serves an an intermediary between copyright holders and content users. They manage the rights for over 1.75 million works. It also includes the Campus Guide to Copyright Compliance. This site has a more limited interpretation of fair use and the TEACH Act than the vast majority of sites. I've had occasional trouble accessing this site.