Fair Use and Exceptions

There are three major exceptions to the copyright law that are commonly used by educators: fair use, face-to-face instruction, and virtual instruction. Exceptions allow for the use of a work without requesting permission from the copyright holder and potentially paying fees.

First Factor of Fair Use
Second Factor of Fair Use
Third Factor of Fair Use
FourthFactor of Fair Use
Other Considerations for Fair Use
Photocopying Course Material and Fair Use
Third-Party Materials on Websites and Fair Use
Performing a Musical or Literary Work, or Showing a Film or Video, in Class?
Virtual Instruction
Author Agreements & Terms of Use
Using Material Created by Other People
Link to Third Party Copyright Material
Using Insubstantial Portions
Material is licensed for non-commercial use
Fair Dealing for Criticism and Review or Parody & Satire
Educational Purposes
Other Legal Considerations
Infringing Copyright



What considerations are relevant in applying the first fair use factor—the purpose and character of the use?

One important consideration is whether the use in question advances a socially beneficial activity like those listed in the statute: criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching, scholarship, or research.  Other important considerations are whether the use is commercial or noncommercial and whether the use is “transformative.”

Noncommercial use is more likely to be deemed fair use than commercial use, and the statute expressly contrasts nonprofit educational purposes with commercial ones.  However, uses made at or by a nonprofit educational institution may be deemed commercial if they are profit making.

In recent years, the courts have focused increasingly on whether the use in question is “transformative.”  A work is transformative if, in the words of the Supreme Court, it “adds something new, with a further purpose or different character, altering the first with new expression, meaning or message.”  Use of a quotation from an earlier work in a critical essay to illustrate the essayist’s argument is a classic example of transformative use.  A use that supplants or substitutes for the original work is less likely to be deemed fair use than one that makes a new contribution and thus furthers the goal of copyright, to promote science and the arts.  To quote the Supreme Court again, transformative works “lie at the heart of the fair use doctrine’s guarantee of breathing space within the confines of copyright.”

Courts have also recognized, however, that non-transformative uses may be socially beneficial, and that a use does not have to be transformative to support a finding of fair use.  The Supreme Court has cited reproduction of multiple copies for classroom distribution as the most obvious example of a non-transformative use that may be permitted as fair use in appropriate circumstances.  The Court’s emphasis on whether a use is transformative, however, makes it difficult to know how to weigh uses that are for non-profit educational purposes but are also non-transformative.  In addition, it could be argued in some circumstances that verbatim copying of a work for classroom use is “transformative,” in that (to quote from the Court’s definition) the instructor is adding “something new, with a further purpose or different character, altering the first with new expression, meaning or message” in the course of presenting the material.

Other factors that sometimes weigh in the analysis of the first fair use factor include whether the use in question is a reasonable and customary practice and whether the putative fair user has acted in bad faith or denied credit to the author of the copyrighted work.

First Factor: Purpose and Character of Use

•    Will the material be the subject of significant commentary, criticism, explanation or the like by the instructor?  (The more the material functions to illustrate, support or enable the new meaning or message delivered by the instructor—as opposed to functioning mainly as material for students to engage in its own right—the more likely its reproduction and distribution for course use will qualify as “transformative” in the sense described above and hence favor a finding of fair use.)

•    Is the copied material integral to the nonprofit educational purpose of the course?  For example, is the material important to a lecture or classroom discussion?  Is it required reading?  (Even if the use is not “transformative,” use for a nonprofit educational purpose will weigh in favor of fair use.)

•    Is the copyrighted material recently published (for example, in a newspaper), or is the instructor inspired at the last minute to use the material in class, with the result that there is little or no time to obtain permission?  (An affirmative answer will weigh in favor of fair use.)

•    Are copies distributed to anyone other than students in the course who need one?  (Distribution to others could weigh against a finding that the use is for a nonprofit educational purpose.  Unless there is a compelling educational reason to do otherwise, materials copied in reliance on fair use should be restricted to enrolled students.)

•    Are students being charged for the copies?  If so, does the charge have any profit component, or does it only recover costs?  (Copying and distribution of a commercial nature will weigh against fair use.)

What considerations are relevant in applying the second fair use factor—the nature of the copyrighted work?

Whether the work is published or unpublished, and how creative the work is, are the two main considerations.  Unpublished works are accorded more protection than published ones, as the author has a strong right to determine whether and when his or her work will be made public.  The fact that a previously published work is out of print may tend to favor fair use, since the work is not otherwise available.

Works that are factual and less creative are more susceptible of fair use than imaginative and highly creative works.  This is in keeping with the general principle that copyright protects expression rather than ideas or facts.

Second Factor: Nature of the Work

•    Is the copyrighted material published or unpublished?  (Unpublished works have traditionally been accorded stronger copyright protection than published works.)

•    Is the copyrighted material factual in nature or creative?  (More fair use latitude is accorded to factual works.)

•    Is the copyrighted material readily available for purchase?  Is it in print or out of print?  (The fact that a work is out of print and unavailable for purchase through normal channels will favor fair use copying for educational purposes, though this may be mitigated if permission to photocopy may readily be purchased.)

•    Was the copyrighted material prepared primarily for the higher educational market—e.g.,  a textbook?  (Fair use is likely to be more restricted for such material, since photocopying it is more likely to harm the market for it than would be true if the original were aimed primarily at a different market.)

What considerations are relevant in applying the third fair use factor—the amount and substantiality of the portion used in relation to the copyrighted work as a whole?

Courts have taken both a quantitative and a qualitative approach in assessing the impact on the fair use analysis of the amount and substantiality of the portion used.  What percentage of the original work has been used?  There are no bright lines, but the higher the percentage, the more likely this factor is to weigh against fair use.

Even if the percentage is fairly small, however, if the material used is qualitatively very important, this factor may weigh against fair use.  Thus, for example, in a case in which The Nation magazine published excerpts, totaling only 300–400 words of verbatim quotes, from Gerald Ford’s forthcoming book-length memoirs, the Supreme Court held that the third factor weighed against fair use, because the excerpts included Ford’s discussion of his pardon of Nixon and other central passages that the court found to be the “heart” of the work.

Also important in applying the third factor is the nexus between the purpose of the fair use and the portion of the copyrighted work taken.  The extent of permissible copying varies with the purpose and character of the use.  Taking more of the copyrighted work than is necessary to accomplish the fair user’s salutary purpose will weigh against fair use.  In some cases, the fact that the entire work—for example, an image—was needed to accomplish the fair use purpose has led the court to hold that the third factor was neutral, favoring neither the copyright holder nor the putative fair user.

Third Factor: Amount Copied

•    How much of the copyrighted work is being copied?  How long is the portion copied and what percentage of the work does it represent?  (The smaller the portion, the more likely the copying will qualify as fair use.  Generally, a strong showing on the other factors will be needed to justify copying more than one chapter of a book, or one article from a periodical or newspaper, or one short story, short essay or short poem, or other similarly small parts of a work.)

•    Is the portion copied the “heart” of the work?  (Even a quantitatively small portion of a work may weigh against fair use if it is the most important or commercially valuable part of it.)

•    Is the amount copied limited to that which is necessary for the educational purpose to which it is being put?  (You should copy no more than is necessary for the educational purpose.)

What considerations are relevant in applying the fourth fair use factor—the effect upon the potential market for or value of the copyrighted work?

Use that adversely affects the market for the copyrighted work is less likely to be a fair use.  This ties back to the first factor, and the question whether the putative fair use supplants or substitutes for the copyrighted work.  The fact that a use results in lost sales to the copyright owner will weigh against fair use.  Moreover, courts have instructed that one must look at the likely impact on the market should the use in question become widespread; the fourth factor may weigh against fair use even if little market harm has yet occurred.

This inquiry is not confined to the market for the original, but also takes into account derivative markets.  For example, if a novel were made into a movie, the movie might not harm sales of the book—indeed, it might help them—but the harm to the derivative market for movie rights would count against fair use.  This principle works in a straightforward way in the case of well-established markets, like the market for movie rights for a novel.  But it becomes much more difficult to apply if there is not an established market.  Consistent with the statutory language, courts have also looked at whether there is harm to a “potential market” for the copyrighted work.  However, if there were deemed to be a “potential market” for every use asserted to be a fair use, then the fourth factor would always favor the copyright owner, since the copyright owner would be harmed by loss of the licensing fee for that use.  One way courts have tried to avoid this circularity is by asking whether a market, if not already established, is “reasonable” or likely to be developed by copyright owners.  In keeping with this approach, courts have concluded that there is no protectable market for criticism or parody, but have considered evidence of harm to markets under development or viewed as attractive opportunities for copyright owners, such as the market for downloads of songs.  In some cases, courts have indicated that the absence of a workable market will tend to favor the fair user on the fourth factor because there is no efficient means to buy permission for the use in question.

This is a difficult and evolving area of the law.  We can nevertheless venture a few generalizations:  Uses that substitute for the copyrighted work in its original market or an established derivative market generally cause market harm that is cognizable under the fourth factor.  Where there is no established market, harm is less likely to be found, but still may be found depending on the facts, especially if the fair use case under the other factors is weak and the “market” in question is under development by copyright owners or obviously attractive commercially.  In any case, the Supreme Court has said, market harm is a matter of degree, and the importance of the fourth factor will vary, not only with the amount of harm, but also with the relative strength of the showing on the other factors.

Fourth Factor: Effect on the Market

•    Will the photocopying result in lost sales of copies of the copyrighted work?  (Copying that substitutes for sales of the copied work will weigh significantly against a finding of fair use.)

•    Can permission to photocopy the material in question readily be purchased through the Copyright Clearance Center (the “CCC”) or another efficient licensing mechanism, such as the publisher?  (Even if the copying will not supplant sales of the entire work, the market for the work may nonetheless be harmed if there is an efficient mechanism for buying copies of the excerpt you want or for buying permission to copy the excerpt.  Whether this market harm, if present, will tip the overall determination against a finding of fair use depends on how the other fair use factors weigh in the particular situation.  When in doubt, if a work is listed with the CCC, it is advisable to obtain photocopying permission through the CCC.)

•    Is it difficult or perhaps impossible to locate the copyright holder or are there other significant obstacles to seeking permission?  Is the expense of seeking permission greater than the value of the permission sought?  (Where there is no cost-effective way to obtain permission, that fact will weigh in favor of a finding of fair use, which can be seen in part as a means for remedying market failure.)

•    Does the University, or other person making the copy, own a lawfully acquired or purchased copy of the work?  (A negative answer will weigh against fair use.)

•    Is the price of permission prohibitive—i.e., so high that the instructor would reasonably forego educational use of the material in question rather than pay it?  (If so, the societal value of the educational use may tend to counter the potential harm to the market for the work in proceeding without buying permission.)

Other Considerations Bearing on Various of the Factors

•    Is any copyright notice on the original reproduced on the photocopy?  (You should reproduce the copyright notice, so that users know the work is in copyright and where to start in seeking permission for subsequent uses, and should include appropriate citation or attribution to the source.)

•    Is this the first time this instructor has photocopied this excerpt for course use, or has photocopying of the same material been repeated from term to term without permission?  (Repeated use without permission will tend to weigh against fair use.)

•    How extensive is the reliance on fair use in providing materials for this course?  Is the copied material supplementing other copyrighted materials purchased or licensed for use in the course, rather than replacing such materials?  (Copying that fills out a reading list of purchased or licensed materials—for example, to bring a subject up to date or supply missing pieces—may be more likely to qualify as fair use than copying that substitutes altogether for materials that are purchased or for which a license or permission has been acquired.)

•    How far outside the Classroom Guidelines is the photocopying in question?  (Although the Guidelines are a “safe harbor” and sailing outside them won’t preclude a finding of fair use, they reflect conditions that some copyright owners and educational users agreed are germane to defining a core set of activities that do constitute fair use, and courts have referred to them subsequently.)

As is evident from this discussion, the law in this area is difficult to apply.  Outside of the limited Classroom Guidelines, it is hard to know with certainty when fair use applies to photocopying for course use. If you wish to make photocopies for course use without obtaining permission from the copyright owner, you should have a good faith reasonable belief that the copying qualifies as fair use.

How does fair use apply to photocopying of course materials?

If you would like to make copyrighted material available to students for course use, you should find out whether the material is already licensed by the university, before wrestling with the question whether fair use applies or seeking permission to reproduce the material.  If the material is already licensed, you will be able to establish a link to the resource from the course website, or otherwise furnish students a URL, which will enable them to access the material in electronic form and print a copy for personal use.  To find out whether a particular article or other work is available through the university’s licensed resources, and for instructions on creating links to those resources.  Alternatively, a copy of the material you wish to use may be publicly available on the Internet—for example, through Google Scholar or a repository such as SSRN—in which case you may be able to link to it.  See generally “What about linking to other material?” above.  If the material is not available through the university’s licensed resources, and is not otherwise available on the Internet, you may in some circumstances be able to copy and distribute the material for course use under the fair use doctrine.

When the Copyright Act of 1976 was being enacted, there was extensive debate about photocopying of copyrighted material for educational and scholarly purposes.  Congress declined to adopt a specific exemption for such photocopying, and instead left this to be addressed under the fair use doctrine.  Section 107 provides that, if the traditional criteria are met, fair use can extend to reproduction of copyrighted material for purposes of classroom teaching.  The difficulty comes in applying those criteria.  Recognizing that difficulty, the House Judiciary Subcommittee urged representatives of copyright owners and educational institutions to work out a set of specific guidelines, and the resulting guidelines were included in the House Report on the Copyright Act of 1976.

Those Guidelines for Classroom Copying are intended as a “safe harbor,” to define certain activities that, at a minimum, will qualify for fair use.  The Guidelines set forth requirements for “brevity” (limiting the amount of material that may be copied), “spontaneity” (requiring that there not be time to secure permission between when the decision to copy is made and the copy is used in class), and “cumulative effect” (limiting the aggregate amount of such copying).  In addition, the Guidelines contain a number of further restrictions, including that an item may not be copied again by the same teacher for use in a subsequent term.  The Guidelines also permit, somewhat more liberally, the making of a single copy of excerpts of a work for use by an instructor in research or teaching.  When the Guidelines were agreed to by certain representatives of copyright owners and educational institutions, a number of educational groups dissented, objecting that the rules were unduly narrow, even as a safe harbor, and would constrain the reasonable application of fair use to photocopying of classroom materials.

How does fair use apply to use of third-party materials on a course website?

The basic considerations that bear on the use of copyrighted material on a course website are similar to those discussed above concerning photocopying.  But the difference in the medium—a digital network rather than hard copies—and the fact that more kinds of content can readily be provided via a website—audiovisual works, music and color images, for example, in addition to text—alter the application of the four fair use factors in various ways.  In analyzing fair use as applied to a course website, the questions discussed above concerning photocopying are generally relevant and provide a good starting point.  But it is also useful to consider some of the ways the analysis for course websites may differ, and to refer to the proposed CONFU guidelines.

In connection with the Clinton Administration’s Information Infrastructure Task Force, a Conference on Fair Use (“CONFU”) was convened in 1994 to bring together copyright owner and user interests to discuss fair use issues in the digital environment and to develop guidelines for fair uses of copyrighted works by librarians and educators.  A substantial number of organizations representing copyright owners, educators and librarians met over a period of four years.  The process did not result in the adoption of any final guidelines, but three sets of proposed guidelines were drafted, some with more bilateral support than others.   The three sets of proposed guidelines concern educational fair use of digital images, educational multimedia, and distance learning [1].  The guidelines are intended as a “safe harbor,” to define certain activities that, at a minimum, will qualify for fair use.  The proposed guidelines, as well as a description of the CONFU process, can be found at www.uspto.gov/web/offices/dcom/olia/confu/confurep.pdf.  While the proposed guidelines were opposed by some copyright owners as going too far and by some user interests as not going far enough, they reflect an attempt to find middle ground on these issues and are a useful point of reference.

Of most relevance to course websites are the proposed guidelines on digital images and, especially, those on multimedia works.  The digital images guidelines take a permission-driven approach.  They allow an educational institution to digitize analog images and provide students access to them over its secure electronic network for educational use for a limited period (one semester in the case of newly acquired analog images) while permission is being sought.  Other conditions also apply, including that an institution may not digitize newly acquired analog images that are readily available in usable digital form for purchase or license at a fair price.  The multimedia guidelines allow instructors and students to incorporate portions of others’ copyrighted materials, along with their own original material (such as course notes or commentary), in educational multimedia works like course websites.  Those guidelines include limitations on, among other things:

•    the portions of copyrighted works that may be incorporated (for example, 10% or three minutes, whichever is less, of a motion picture; 10% or 30 seconds, whichever is less, of a musical work; 10% or 1,000 words, whichever is less, of a textual work, with an exception allowing use of the entirety of short poems in some circumstances; and 10% or 15 images, whichever is less, from a published collective work, but no more than five images by any one artist or photographer);

•    the time for which multimedia works may be used (up to two years); and

•    distribution over the educational institution’s network (requiring technological limitations on access—such as a password or PIN—and on further copying of the work).

The proposed guidelines endeavored to establish a fair use “safe harbor,” not to define the outer boundaries of fair use.  It may not be feasible to follow the proposed guidelines in all respects—and fair use does not require that you do so—but they nevertheless provide a useful point of reference as you apply the four statutory fair use factors, which remain the touchstone.

When you apply the fair use factors to multimedia content, the analysis is likely to differ in some ways from the analysis of photocopying discussed above.  Taking images, for example, there may be two different copyrights in an image—one in the underlying work of art and the other in the photograph—that need to be considered, though it is sometimes difficult or impossible to identify the photographer [2]; you typically need to use the entire image to achieve your educational purpose, and courts have recognized that copying the entirety of an image where necessary for a legitimate fair use purpose will not weigh against a fair use finding; there is a longstanding tradition in higher education of making slides from art reproductions in periodicals, exhibition catalogs and books for teaching and study; there is no centralized and efficient mechanism for licensing educational images that is analogous to the CCC in the case of text; and the reproductions made for educational use on a course website are typically lower in resolution and quality than the images that copyright holders sell or license for publication, thus reducing the likelihood that a digitized image will harm an existing market.  In recognition of these kinds of content-related differences, the University is evolving further content-specific guidance for use of copyrighted works on course websites.

The following are some general measures that, while not substituting for the four factor fair use test, will tend to assist a finding of fair use:
•    Use others’ copyrighted material in your course website only if the material is integral to the course curriculum.

•    Include your own comments, criticism and explanation, or otherwise make your use of the copyrighted material transformative.

•    Use only small amounts of others’ copyrighted material, and only what is necessary for your educational purpose.  Wherever possible, follow the portion limitations of the CONFU proposed multimedia guidelines.

•    Buy a license to the material if a license allowing the educational use you wish to make is readily available.  If the material was or is acquired under license, observe the license terms.

•    Don’t incorporate material in your website in lieu of having students buy books, course packs or other such material, or in lieu of having them buy a license to use the material in digital form if a license allowing the educational use needed for the course is readily available to them.

•    Don’t use portions of others’ copyrighted material that is produced in digital form primarily for instructional use, or where your use would reasonably be expected to harm the market for the analog version of the material.

•    Limit access to students enrolled in the course for which your work is created.  Assuming access is provided over a network, require a password or PIN.

•    Wherever feasible, employ streaming formats and technological limits on copying, retention and further dissemination of the work by students.

•    Only incorporate portions from lawfully acquired copies of others’ materials.

•    Avoid taking many excerpts or portions from any one work.

•    Avoid repeated use of the same material from term to term without seeking permission, unless the fair use analysis is strong after weighing the other factors.

•    Alter others’ works only where necessary to support specific instructional objectives.

•    Allow access only during the term in which the course is given, and disable student access thereafter.

•    Credit the sources fully and display the copyright notice from the original.

•    Include a notice that material on the website is being provided under fair use, and that the material may only be used for personal, noncommercial educational purposes.

For each item of copyrighted material you wish to use, make a good faith fair use determination.  If you do not reasonably believe your proposed use passes the four factor test, obtain permission for the material or don’t use it.

What are the rules for performing a musical or literary work, or showing a film or video, in class?

Apart from fair use, the Copyright Act contains a special provision, Section 110(1), that allows teachers to perform or display a copyrighted work, either live or recorded, “in the course of face-to-face teaching activities . . . in a classroom or similar place devoted to instruction.”  Thus, you can use sound recordings, live performances, readings, films or videotapes, slides or any other performance or display of copyrighted works without restriction and without permission, so long as you are teaching students in a classroom or similar place such as a studio.  The only exception is that you may not use a film or videotape that you have reason to believe is an illegally made copy.

Note, however, that this special classroom dispensation applies to performance and display only; it does not authorize making copies.  Nor does it enable you to put materials on your web page, even for course use, because websites are not considered “face-to-face teaching.”  Similarly, if you wish to videotape a class session in which you have performed or displayed others’ copyrighted material and to transmit the video to remote students (e.g., via streaming), a different set of considerations comes into play.  Amended by the TEACH Act in 2002, Section 110(2) of the Copyright Act provides a special exemption for such distance learning activities.  The exemption is conditioned on a detailed set of requirements.  You can find useful descriptions of the TEACH Act requirements at http://www.ala.org/Template.cfm?Section=distanced&Template=/ContentManagement/ContentDisplay.cfm&ContentID=25939#newc.  If you cannot meet all of the TEACH Act requirements, you may be able to rely on fair use, if the statutory four factor test is satisfied, or you should obtain permission to use the copyrighted material in the video of your class session.


The traditional classroom or face-to-face instruction is when the instructor and the students of a nonprofit educational institution are in a place devoted to instruction and the teaching and learning take place at the same time. In this setting all performances and displays of a work are allowed.


  1. All materials must be legally acquired.
  2. Teaching activities must take place in a classroom or a similar place devoted to instruction.


Copyrighted materials used in face-to-face instruction include:

Virtual Instruction

Virtual instruction is when a course is taught either solely online or when components of face-to-face instruction are taught online such as with Blackboard and other course management systems. Virtual instruction includes digitally transmitting class materials to students. This transmission is authorized under the TEACH (Technology Education and Copyright Harmonization) Act which is a part of the copyright law. The basic premise behind TEACH is to allow comparable instruction in the online environment as to what takes place in a traditional classroom or face-to-face instruction. One of the major requirements of the law is that materials can only be digitally transmitted to students officially registered in the course. There are other requirements for teaching, technology, and course materials that instructors must meet as well before using the TEACH exception. TEACH requirements for:

Author Agreements & Terms of Use

The nature of wikis & blogs means they are designed to make material readily and widely available to facilitate sharing and collaborating. Most people who choose to join a wiki or blog accept that the material they create can be reproduced or edited. However, this does not mean that you can necessarily freely reproduce or redistribute the material for other purposes. It is recommended that anyone participating in a wiki, blog, podcast or social network etc. sign a user agreement that outlines how their contributions will be used and what rights they retain over their material.

Using Material Created by Other People

Many people joining your blog, wiki or social network may want to include material created by other people as part of their contribution. This may include images, sound recordings, films, extracts or text. There are only limited provisions in the Copyright Act that allow people to communicate third party copyright material on the web without seeking permission from the copyright owner.

Link to Third Party Copyright Material

It is strongly recommend that all contributors link to any third party copyright material that they wish to use rather than reproducing it. There are no copyright restrictions on linking to material, it is considered the same as including a reference in a bibliography. However you should avoid linking to infringing material. If you are not able to link to third party copyright material, then you may be able to use the material under one of the following provisions:

Using Insubstantial Portions

If you want to quote a few lines or sentences then you may do so under the insubstantial portion provision. This provision allows an insubstantial portion of a copyrighted work to be reproduced or published without needing permission from the copyright owner. If you wish to quote a few lines or sentences from a book or play, you can do so but you must acknowledge the work used. You may also be able to use a short clip of a film or a snippet from a sound recording as an insubstantial portion. However, the Copyright Act does not define what an insubstantial portion is. Whether something is insubstantial depends on how distinctive it is and how important it is to the overall work. As this is qualitative rather than quantitative, even a really short extract may be considered substantial if it is distinctive or a key part of the overall work. For example, a short scene in a movie that reveals a key plot point or a few bars from a song if they form a distinctive part of the melody will probably be deemed substantial.

Material is licensed for non-commercial use

Some copyright owners are expressly permitting people to use their work for non-commercial purposes without having to seek their permission first. This is becoming especially common on the web, where creators choose to make their work more freely available. It is important to realize that all material on the web is subject to copyright unless the copyright owner has specifically allowed the material to be used for non-commercial purposes. Check the terms and conditions on the website to see what can and cannot be done with the material. If the website allows the material to be used for non-commercial purposes, you may be able to use the content at your event. You must abide by the terms and conditions on the website and you must fully acknowledge any websites you use.

Fair Dealing for Criticism and Review or Parody & Satire

You may also be able to use third party copyright material under fair dealing for criticism and review or parody and satire. Material can only be reproduced under these provisions if the work is genuinely being critiqued, reviewed, parodied or satirised. You cannot use these provisions to reproduce work to illustrate a point or to make a joke, for example. Any use or material for criticism and review orparody and satire must be ‘fair and reasonable’; there are no specified limits so you can use the entire work if your use is considered ‘fair and reasonable’. For example, if you were reviewing a film on your blog, it might be considered “fair and reasonable” to include a brief clip as part of your review, but it would be unlikely to be considered “fair and reasonable” to include the entire film.

Educational Purposes

If you are using any web 2.0 applications, such as blogs and wikis, as part of delivering course material or teaching students, you may also be able to rely on the Part VA & Part VB statutory licenses. These licenses allow copyright material to be reproduced & communicated for educational purposes. Conditions and limitations apply:

  • It must be for educational purposes– as part of an enrolled course of study. It will not cover public lectures or educational events.
  • Limits on the amounts and types of material that can be reproduced and communicated – For more information see http://www.unimelb.edu.au/copyright/information/eduse/copying.html


  • Restrict Access – only enrolled students can have access to material made available under the statutory licenses. If you open your website up to external parties, you cannot include material under the statutory licenses.
  • Include a Copyright Warning Notice -Copies of the copyright warning notices can be downloaded from: http://www.unimelb.edu.au/copyright/notices/
  • Cite all material used with a full bibliographic citation- For further information on referencing material see: http://www.lib.unimelb.edu.au/cite/index.html
  • Register all textual material – You must register any journal articles, book chapters, portions or other textual material that you include with the Copyright Office. There is no need to register images or material that you have only linked to such as webpages or e-journal articles. For more information see: http://www.unimelb.edu.au/copyright/register/index.html Further information on using material for educational purposes is available at: Guidelines for Using Copyright Material for Educational Purposes http://www.unimelb.edu.au/copyright/information/guidelinesedpurp.html

Other Legal Considerations

Copyright law is not the only legal issue that must be considered when using web 2.0 technology. You may also need to comply with privacy requirements. You also need toensure that users do not post illegal or inappropriate content such as:

  • pornographic material
  • defamatory material
  • material that contains racial vilification, cruelty or violence
  • material that is abusive or harassing in nature
  • material that invades or interferes with privacy of any person
  • personal information, such as telephone numbers, addresses, photographic images, of individuals without their express permission. Further information on privacy is available at: http://www.unimelb.edu.au/unisec/privacy/index.html

Infringing Copyright

It is important that you do not infringe copyright in other people’s work when communicating material on the web. Make sure that you do not use infringing material, such as illegal music, movies and software from the internet. All staff and students are responsible for ensuring that they do not infringe copyright. The University will take disciplinary action against staff and students found infringing copyright using University facilities or networks. Staff and students may also be liable for legal action from the copyright owners.