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QUESTION OF THE MONTH: Citing Your Sources


Dear CSM:

Is it required to cite your sources when claiming Fair Use in an online video context?

Thanks for your help,



Dear Jon:

Citing your sources when they are knowable, whether it's in the body of the work or in credits, is always a nice idea, and it's polite. It also shows that you recognize and acknowledge that the work you used is not your own. This fact further reinforces a Fair Use claim if you are ever challenged, and therefore providing attribution is commonly suggested. It's an easy way to reinforce your Fair Use claim. In some cases, though, sources may not be known, or work may be produced (as many YouTube videos are) by people who do not provide their names and therefore do not seem to feel strongly about receiving authorship credit. In those situations, not providing attribution is entirely reasonable.

--The Center for Social Media

For answers to more common Online Video Fair Use questions, check out our Code of Best Practices in Fair Use for Online Video.