Copyright, Fair Use & Creative Commons

Flat Classroom/NetGenEd Guidelines for Media Use

  • While some of the following may still arguably be considered as qualifying under Fair Use in some instances, it is important to remember when participating in a project like this that we are utilizing a NING platform, similar to YouTube. Although not exact, NING has a Terms of Use Agreement that we all agree to abide by upon joining. NING reserves the right to remove anything they deem copyright infringement.
  • Further, copyrighted material can cause a really fantastic video to lose out on a well-deserved award due to the inclusion of copyright especially music. Everyone works so hard and we want to assure the chances to secure awards are most-equitable.
  • Please pay extra mind to the following guidelines when creating your video/multimedia artifact.

Sample Types of Media
Mainstream Copyright Music
TV/Commercial clips
Following Fair Use Guidelines
20% max (e.g. 30 sec of a 2:30 minute video)
Proper MLA citation in credits
Documentary Clips (News, TED, etc.)
Following Fair Use Guidelines
20% max (e.g. 30 sec of a 2:30 minute video)
Proper MLA citation in credits
Creative Commons Licensed
Balanced with other pieces of media
Proper MLA citation & credit to original creator
Mainstream Movie Clips


  • What is Copyright?

  • Copyright is intended to actually protect the user, not necessarily the owner, in order to stimulate creativity and innovation. Copyright is a "right" to "copy," for the right purposes, and after a given amount of time, granted to us by Section 8, Article 1, Clause 8 of the US ConstitutionScreen_shot_2011-11-05_at_11.52.58_AM.png

  • If you are unsure how to determine if something is protected by Copyright, you can use this digital slider to help you.

"LIMITATIONS: If a work is merely reused without significant change of context or meaning, then its reuse goes beyond the limits of fair use. Similarly, where the juxtaposition is a pretext to exploit the popularity or
appeal of the copyrighted work employed, or where the amount of material used is excessive, fair use should not apply. For example, fair use will not apply when a copyrighted song is used in its entirety as a sound track for a newly created video simply because the music evokes a desired mood rather than to change its meaning; when someone sings or dances to recorded popular music without comment, thus using it for its original purpose; or when newlyweds decorate or embellish a wedding video with favorite songs simply because they like those songs or think they express the emotion of the moment." [1]
  • For our classroom purposes, you should generally not use any copyrighted television shows or movie clips within a video or digital story unless it truly meets Fair Use Guidelines for Educational Purposes.

Fair Use

Where does Fair Use come in?

Was the Barack Obama "Hope" Poster fair use? Look at this photo to see what you think [2]

Criteria for Fair Use

  • Nature
  • Purpose
  • Amount
  • Effect

Fair Use is also based on "transformativeness" (adding value, repurposing) and the cost to copyright holder vs. benefits to society

What's Fair?

To Use or Not to Use

The best way to make sure you are not breaking any copyright laws is to use media that is:
1. Homegrown
2. Creative Commons licensed
3. Fair Use
(from Wes Fryer 's Copyright for Educators) [3]

Here's a Fair Use Reasoning Process to help you determine if it's fair or not

Creative Commons

Building on the Past

This video created by Justin Cone won the Creative Commons Moving Images Contest

To Get Creative

Be Part of the Shared Culture

Using Creative Commons to find Images, Audio and Video for your Website

How Can I Use CC Licensed Content?

It depends.
There are different kinds of Creative Commons licenses

Finding Creative Commons Licensed Images

The search portal on the CC website
Google Advanced Image Search (select Usage Rights)
Flickr's Creative Commons Portal
Flickr Creative Commons - Attribution Only Search
Compfight: A Flickr Search Tool- Here are some instructions for using Compfight
FlickrStorm (save CC images with a URL)

Sites for educational videos:

TED Talks
Academic Earth
Vidque (typically creative commons)

Digital Storytelling

Storyboard Tutorial

What's in a Story?

  • What are the important things any writer includes in a story? Check out this awesome Flocabulary Rapthat will be sure to help you remember what makes a story "mad exciting."
    • "Plot, Character, Conflict, Theme, Setting, yes these are the five things, that you're gonna be needing, when you're reading or writing a short story that's mad exciting." [1]
  • What do really good, moving stories look like? Sample Digital Stories from the Center for Digital Story Telling
  • Resources for setting up/laying out a Digital Story[4]


Storyboard Templates

Digital Arts Alliance Storyboard
Location Lockdown Storyboards
Show Me A Movie Storyboard
Jason Ohler Storyboard

What are Some Possible Video Styles to Use?

See the video playlist below for examples of the following styles . . .
Common Craft
Say It Visually
Pecha Kucha
Back of the Napkin
Whiteboard Animation

  1. ^ "Code of Best Practices in Fair Use for Online Video." Center for Social Media. American University School of Communication, 2011. Web. 05 Nov. 2011. <>.
  2. ^ Moorman, Honor. 21st Century Global Leadership. International School of the Americas. Web. 3 Nov. 2011. <>.
  3. ^ Moorman, Honor. 21st Century Global Leadership. International School of the Americas. Web. 3 Nov. 2011. <>.
  4. ^ Educational Uses of Digital Storytelling. Web. 03 Nov. 2011. <>.