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A possible solution

Educators might do well to consider the example of documentary filmmakers. These filmmakers were finding themselves unable to get the insurance companies that cover their industry to agree to cover any film if it made any fair use of copyrighted materials whatsoever. They were increasingly subjected to rights clearance requirements even for trivial use of ostensibly copyrighted material, and it was interfering with their ability to use film as a medium for speaking out.

Ultimately, a group of five documentary film organizations came together to draft a Statement of Best Practices in Fair Use for their industry. This Statement was then endorsed by fifteen organizations, giving it a compelling claim to representing the standards of that community. This proved crucial, since community standards are given significant weight when determining whether use is fair use. This Statement became the definitive one by which courts would make this determination, leading to greatly increased confidence on the part of documentary filmmakers and the companies that insure them. In fact, several insurance companies have since switched from rejecting all fair use to covering it, provided that it falls within the parameters outlined by the Statement.

American educators should look at this example and work together to put together a similar statement that can help reclaim fair use as a clear-cut option for teachers and professors who wish to make use of the vast culture that surrounds us when engaging in our professions. Fair use is ultimately based on our right to free speech. Let’s speak out while we still can!


There are a number of resources I found particularly helpful and interesting when writing this article:

  • “The Cost of Copyright Confusion for Media Literacy” by Renee Hobbs, Peter Jaszi, and Pat Aufderheide; published by the Center for Social Media at American University.
  • Wikipedia’s article on Fair Use , which is pretty approachable for an article about a legal doctrine.
  • A video called A Fair(y) Use Tale which explains fair use and is comprised entirely of short clips from Disney movies. (For those who don’t get the joke, Disney has been one of the most vicious lobbyists for copyright extension, despite its longstanding use of material in the public domain.)

This article is dedicated to the public domain, with no entitlements reserved.

1. ken udas - november 16th, 2007 at 6:09 am

Steve, I think this is a very interesting posting and points to a doctrine that has not been discussed in this Series to this point. I have a bunch of questions, but will refrain from posing them all at once. It seems to me that the thrust of your post is that:

The challenge with Fair Use is that it is ambiguous. It is a defense whose application is subject to significant interpretation in the court.
We can potentially reduce the ambiguity and risk of using if we act as the documentary film professionals and draft a Statement of Best Practices in Fair Use, but apply it to education.

Questions & Answers

I only see partial conversation and what's the question here!
Crow Reply
what about nanotechnology for water purification
RAW Reply
please someone correct me if I'm wrong but I think one can use nanoparticles, specially silver nanoparticles for water treatment.
what is the stm
Brian Reply
is there industrial application of fullrenes. What is the method to prepare fullrene on large scale.?
industrial application...? mmm I think on the medical side as drug carrier, but you should go deeper on your research, I may be wrong
How we are making nano material?
what is a peer
What is meant by 'nano scale'?
What is STMs full form?
scanning tunneling microscope
how nano science is used for hydrophobicity
Do u think that Graphene and Fullrene fiber can be used to make Air Plane body structure the lightest and strongest. Rafiq
what is differents between GO and RGO?
what is simplest way to understand the applications of nano robots used to detect the cancer affected cell of human body.? How this robot is carried to required site of body cell.? what will be the carrier material and how can be detected that correct delivery of drug is done Rafiq
what is Nano technology ?
Bob Reply
write examples of Nano molecule?
The nanotechnology is as new science, to scale nanometric
nanotechnology is the study, desing, synthesis, manipulation and application of materials and functional systems through control of matter at nanoscale
Is there any normative that regulates the use of silver nanoparticles?
Damian Reply
what king of growth are you checking .?
What fields keep nano created devices from performing or assimulating ? Magnetic fields ? Are do they assimilate ?
Stoney Reply
why we need to study biomolecules, molecular biology in nanotechnology?
Adin Reply
yes I'm doing my masters in nanotechnology, we are being studying all these domains as well..
what school?
biomolecules are e building blocks of every organics and inorganic materials.
anyone know any internet site where one can find nanotechnology papers?
Damian Reply
sciencedirect big data base
Introduction about quantum dots in nanotechnology
Praveena Reply
what does nano mean?
Anassong Reply
nano basically means 10^(-9). nanometer is a unit to measure length.
do you think it's worthwhile in the long term to study the effects and possibilities of nanotechnology on viral treatment?
Damian Reply
absolutely yes
how to know photocatalytic properties of tio2 nanoparticles...what to do now
Akash Reply
it is a goid question and i want to know the answer as well
characteristics of micro business
for teaching engĺish at school how nano technology help us
How can I make nanorobot?
how did you get the value of 2000N.What calculations are needed to arrive at it
Smarajit Reply
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Source:  OpenStax, The impact of open source software on education. OpenStax CNX. Mar 30, 2009 Download for free at http://cnx.org/content/col10431/1.7
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