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Teaching Materials

Fair Use Scenarios

Here are four scenarios, or hypothetical situations, that a documentary filmmaker might find him or herself facing. The four scenarios are each linked to one of the Statement's categories. These can be used for classroom discussion, and to inspire you to write other scenarios. The goal of these scenarios is to allow discussion about what the fair and responsible thing to do would be, not to find out "the right answer." These scenarios thus allow students to consider what they think makes sense, in light of the Documentary Filmmakers' Statement of Best Practice to see what professional filmmakers established as principles and limitations.


Fair Use Language for Course Syllabi

In your syllabus, you often have some information on copyright. Here is some language to include in that section, specifically on fair use. This language has been reviewed by lawyers, including law professor Peter Jaszi of American University’s Washington College of Law and Michael Donaldson of Donaldson and Hart law firm, and it has been approved by the University Film and Video Association for use by its members.


Teaching about Copyright and Fair Use for Media Literacy Education

The Media Education Lab at Temple University has created a whole set of Curriculum Materials for teaching and understanding copyright and fair use. The materials include lesson plans, songs, case studies, and videos. If you're interested in learning more about Fair Use in Media Literacy Education, make sure to check out these excellent materials!


War on Water

Marymount Manhattan College students Billy Shields and Stuart Kiczek re-purpose old copyright black-and-white footage to illustrate a more modern point about how consumers can cut down on expenses by filtering their own tap water at home instead of purchasing bottled water. They use only enough of the third party images as necessary in order to give the rest of the footage the feel of a much older film.


Fair Use Teaching Materials


Find material you can use in teaching on fair use in documentary film, media literacy and more. Resources include FAQ, scenarios, curriculum ideas and fair use language for syllabi.


Examples of Successful Fair Use in Documentary Film

Filmmakers have been successfully employing fair use, even before the Statement of Best Practices clarified their common understandings. Here are some examples of uncontested choices for fair use. They are organized here according to the principles that filmmakers articulated in the Statement, in the categories used in the Statement. These categories are only four of the most common situations for filmmakers; some uses could be hybrid, and others might fall outside these four categories. We welcome more examples at cmsimpact [at] gmail [dot] com.


Fair Use Teaching Tools

The Center for Media & Social Impact has created a set of teaching tools for professors who are interested in teaching their students about fair use. The tools include powerpoints with lecture notes, guidelines for in-class discussions and exercises, assignments and grading rubrics. We hope you'll find them useful!


Fair Use in Journalism: You Be the Judge!

paperboyJournalists depend upon fair use, often without knowing it. The Set of Principles in Fair Use for Journalism was created by journalists to express the consensus of their interpretation of fair use. The Principles feature seven common situations in which journalists can and widely do employ fair use.

Here are examples of uses of copyright material in those seven situations. Test your skill and use the Principles to draw your conclusions. Then check your answers at the bottom.


Fair Use in Visual Arts: You Be the Judge


Artists, publishers, scholars and curators depend upon fair use in the Visual Arts more than they realize. The Set of Principles in Fair Use for the Visual Arts was created by professionals from different fields within the Visual Arts to unified and express their interpretation of fair use.

Here are examples of uses of copyright material in the Visual Arts. Test your skill and use the Principles to draw your conclusions. Then check your answers at the bottom