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Fair Use: Codes of Best Practice

Codes of Best Practices in Fair Use

Listed below are various Codes of Best Practices in Fair Use, developed through multiple partnerships at The Center for Media and Social Impact to address the specific research and pedagogical needs of particular areas of study that include general scholarship, media literacy, film, visual arts, music and poetry. These assembled Best Practices:

  • describe centrist, moderate practices that are neither the bare minimum nor the absolute maximum of fair use, but a comfortable middle
  • are developed by practice communities themselves, without intimidation from hostile outside groups
  • are grounded in library mission and practice
  • are based on solid research into how courts decide fair use cases
  • are informed by the latest scholarly and judicial opinions about fair use
  • do not impose arbitrary and absurd limitations

Code of Best Practices in Fair Use for Academic and Research Libraries

The result of an extensive survey of library professionals, this is a code of best practices in fair use devised specifically by and for the academic and research library community. It identifies eight situations that represent the library community's current consensus about acceptable practices for the fair use of copyrighted materials and describes a carefully derived consensus within the library community. 

Code of Best Practices in Fair Use for Scholarly Research in Communication

Created by a committee of communication scholars within the International Communication Association, this document is a code of best practices that helps U.S. communication scholars to interpret the copyright doctrine of fair use. This guide identifies four situations that represent the current consensus within the community of communication scholars about acceptable practices for the fair use of copyrighted materials.

Statement on the Fair Use of Images for Teaching, Research, and Study

Drafted by members of the VRA's Intellectual Property Rights Committee, this statement draws significantly on the guidance and expertise of the VRA's Legal Advisory Committee members. The aim of this document is to provide general guidance to educational and scholarly users of images - and to others who help facilitate those educational and scholarly uses - so that they can rely on fair use with greater certainty when employing these practices and principles.

Code of Best Practices in Fair Use for Media Literacy Education

Created after convening ten meetings with more than 150 members of leading educational associations and other educators across the United States, this document is a code of best practices that helps educators using media literacy concepts and techniques to interpret the copyright doctrine of fair use. This guide identifies five principles that represent the media literacy education community's current consensus about acceptable practices for the fair use of copyrighted materials, wherever and however it occurs: in K-12 education, in higher education, in nonprofit organizations that offer programs for children and youth, and in adult education.

The Society for Cinema and Media Studies’ Statement of Best Practices for Fair Use in Teaching for Film and Media Educators

Developed after surveying over 600 educators, this statement of best practices aims to clarify some of the issues concerning the permissible use of media for teaching. Among the goals of this statement is to provide practical assistance to film and media educators in determining whether a particular use of a work is permissible and to formalize customary practices that over time can help guide courts in determing what types of users are generally accepted as non-infringing by film and media educators.