Using copyrighted materials for teaching can be complicated. In some situations, an exceptions for educational use may apply, but in other cases you may need permission from the copyright holder.
Three major exceptions to copyright law commonly used by educators:
Exceptions allow for the use of a work without requesting permission from the copyright holder and potentially paying fees.
Section 110 U.S. Copyright Law: Teachers and students at nonprofit educational institutions have certain rights to publicly display and perform copyrighted works in the traditional face-to-face classroom. Applied to very limited situations.
The TEACH Act gives certain permissions to non-profit educational institutions for using copyrighted works in the classroom without permission from the rights holder. The TEACH Act is complicated with many restrictions, so assess with care.
The TEACH Act states that a copyrighted work may be displayed to a distance education course without consultation with the rights holder if:
Section 107 of U.S. Copyright Law allows for some uses of portions of copyrighted works for purposes such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching, scholarship, and research.
Determining Fair Use is done on a case-by-case basis according to the Four Factors of Fair Use:
Each of these factors must be considered and balanced with the others to gain an overall picture of your intended use and to help you reach an informed decision.
These are interactive Fair Use evaluators that may help inform your decision to use copyrighted works.
“The distinction between what is fair use and what is infringement in a particular case will not always be clear or easily defined. There is no specific number of words, lines, or notes that may safely be taken without permission. Acknowledging the source of the copyrighted material does not substitute for obtaining permission.” – U.S. Copyright Office