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Fair Use Question of the Month: Starting The Semester with Fair Use

Dear Center for Social Media,

I'm a newbie high school English teacher, and one of my assignments this year will be for students to make remakes or remixes of Shakespeare plays. I showed our principal some of your work--the Documentary Filmmakers Statement of Best Practices in Fair Use, the Code of Best Practices for Fair Use in Online Video, and the Code of Best Practices in Fair Use for Media Literacy Education. She's approved the assignment, so thanks! Now I'd like to do a quick overview of fair use for my students at the beginning of the semester. What's the best way to explain what they can and can't do, in terms of copyright, for this assignment? 


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We're so glad the fair use codes have been helpful to you. We have quite a few resources on the site aimed toward you as an educator and for your students as they create media projects. After reading a relevant code, your students might enjoy viewing Fair Use and Free Speech, a short video that shows how filmmakers use the Code, or Fair Use in Media Literacy Education, another short video that shows how fair use works in media literacy exercises like yours. They could kick off discussion and test their skills with Remix Culture. We also have powerpoints with lecture notes, fair use scenarios for in-class discussion, discussion clips, assignments and grading rubric, and more videos. Be sure to check out the Fair Use in Online Video Discussion Clips, which features popular viral videos that can spark in-class discussion about fair use with fun and familiar videos. Beyond our many codes, the easy-to-read book Reclaiming Fair Use: How To Put Balance Back In Copyright provides a very accessible overview of fair use that would be appropriate for you or for your students, and is available on Amazon.com.

Good luck with your first year of teaching!

Center for Social Media