Most of the teaching, study, and research performed at universities and colleges in the US falls into the area of "Fair Use" which allows the use of copyrighted material in the classroom and library. However, a number of misconceptions, rumors, and misinformation about Fair Use and copyright can cause fear or discomfort about using copyrighted materials for teaching and learning. Authority figures in academics must advocate strongly for the fair use of copyrighted material in educational environments. Faculty and students should never feel timid about fair use--reluctance to exercise fair use can impact scholarship, creativity, and lecture content.
Below is a detail from the ARL info-graphic about the updated best practices the ARL advocates. It mentions that these best practices are endorsed by other professional organizations, including VRA and ARLIS/NA. It also addresses one of the more persistent myths about fair use of copyrighted material: "arbitrary numeric limits" to copyrighted material. Throughout my career I have heard the rumor from librarians and faculty that only a percentage of a creative work can be used under the umbrella of fair use. The ARL clearly states in this infographic that this misconception was addressed in a recent federal court and was found to be "impractical and unnecessary" and "not compatible with the language and content" of fair use.
|(click to enlarge. see whole poster here)|
The University of Denver maintains a subscription to Artstor, a database of over two million images from 290 collections for teaching and learning. Artstor is a strong advocate for respecting copyright AND for exercising fair use. They are hosting a webinar on copyright called The Dos and Don'ts of Image Copyright and Image Use on May 18th. This might be a good introduction to copyright for those who are unsure about the topic and wish to be better informed. (You can find Artstor through the University of Denver's library page by looking at the databases by the letter A.)