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Announcing the release of the Code of Best Practices in Fair Use for Online Video

Remixes, mashups, fan tributes and other creative work burgeoning in online video often use copyrighted material without permission or payment. When is it fair to do so? In many cases, creators can employ Fair Use, a key feature of copyright law. Today marks the release of the Center's newest publication, the Code of Best Practices in Fair Use for Online Video. Our latest effort in promoting Fair Use practices among media makers, the code focuses on the still-evolving world of online video, and will help to protect creators from automatic censorship that results from copyright filtering.

The Code of Best Practices in Fair Use for Online Video was written collaboratively with a committee of legal and media scholars, and was coordinated by Pat Aufderheide and Peter Jaszi of American University. Our acclaimed committee of writers includes:

  • Michael C. Donaldson, Esq., Los Angeles
  • Anthony Falzone, lecturer, executive director, Fair Use Project, Stanford Law School
  • Lewis Hyde, Richard L. Thomas Professor of Creative Writing, Kenyon College; fellow, Berkman Center for Internet and Society, Harvard University
  • Mizuko Ito, research scientist, School of Cinematic Arts, University of Southern California
  • Henry Jenkins, professor, program head, comparative media studies, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
  • Michael Madison, associate dean for research, associate professor of law, University of Pittsburgh School of Law
  • Pamela Samuelson, Richard M. Sherman Distinguished Professor of Law and Information, University of California, Berkeley
  • Rebecca Tushnet, professor, Georgetown University Law Center, Georgetown University
  • Jennifer Urban, clinical associate professor of law; director of Intellectual Property and Technology Law Clinic, University of Southern California

The goals of the code are to clearly establish what constitutes Fair Use in online video, and to reach out to creators and copyright holders alike to create a common awareness of what kind of quoting is legal and illegal. This can only be accomplished through participation -- by spreading the word to your users, you can help to protect this emerging culture.

Organizations that have already committed to recommending the Code to their users include:

  • Independent Television Service
  • P.O.V.
  • The Corporation for Public Broadcasting's Minority Consortia, including:
  • Center for Asian American Media
  • Latino Public Broadcasting
  • National Black Programming Consortium
  • Native American Public Telecommunications
  • Pacific Islanders in Communication

The Code of Best Practices draws upon the success of a previous Center for Social Media publication, the Documentary Filmmaker's Statement of Best Practices. Latino Public Broadcasting's Executive Director Patricia Boero says: "We will definitely get this to Latino and Latina producers who found the first version so useful, and will be eager to use the new code to navigate the opportunities that digital and participatory media offers."

The Code is available at centerforsocialmedia.org/remix, and for more background, read Recut, Reframe, Recycle, an exploration of trends and practices in remix culture. For examples of copyright quotations in online video, watch the video below.