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Fair Use

How do I avoid plagiarism?

How do I avoid breaking copyright law?

You may incorporate portions of copyrighted works when creating your own multimedia projects for educational or instructional (not commercial) purposes.

  • Students may incorporate "portions" of copyrighted materials for a project in a specific course.

  • Students may display their own projects, use them in their portfolio, for a job interview or as supporting materials in an application for school.

  • Faculty may use their projects for class assignments, curriculum materials, remote instruction, for conferences, presentations, or workshops, or for their professional portfolio.

  • Give attribution to the original source of all copyrighted material you used.

  • Place a copyright notice on the opening screen of the multimedia program and accompanying print material that "certain materials are included under fair use exemption of the U.S. Copyright Law...and are restricted from further use."

Multimedia works are created by combining copyrighted media elements such as motion media, music, other sounds, graphics, and text. Educational guidelines for the use of media are being negotiated. Current discussions recommend that you use only small portions of other people's works.

  • Motion media: Up to 10% or three minutes, whichever is less.

  • Text: Up to 10% or 1,000 words, whichever is less. (The limits on poetry are more restrictive.)

  • Music: Up to 10% of an individual copyrighted musical composition, or up to 10% of a copyrighted musical composition embodied on a sound recording. However, no more than 30 seconds may be used without gaining permission from the copyright owner or licensing collective.

  • Illustrations and photos: Under the guidelines, "a photograph or illustration may be used in its entirety, but no more than five images by one artist or photographer may be incorporated into any one multimedia program. From a published collective work, not more than 10% or 15 images, whichever is less, may be used."

  • Numerical Data Sets: Up to 10% or 2,5000 fields or cell entries, whichever is less.

Taken from Russell, C., Buttler, D. K., & American Library Association. (2004). Complete copyright: An everyday guide for librarians. Chicago: American Library Association.

Fair use of the copyrighted materials expires at the end of two years. To use the project again, you need to obtain permission.

General Interest Links


Specializes in short-form original video content.


Specializes in free, Creative Commons images and videos.


Upload, share, and explore user-generated videos.


Hosts millions of user-generated and professional videos.

Educational Links A-M

 Academic Earth

Thousands of video lectures from the world's top scholars.

  Big Think

Video interviews with 600+ thought leaders in a range of fields.


Short-form online video lessons by professional educators. Free math lessons.


Aggregator of free, online video lessons and documentaries.

  Futures Channel

High quality multimedia content idea for use in the classroom with topic categories such as agriculture, architecture, space science, and sports.


Professional and user-generated how-to videos.

 Internet Archive

Collection of more than two-hundred thousand free historical videos, many academic.

 iTunes U

Free lectures, language lessons, audiobooks, and more accessible via Apple iTunes.

Apple iTunes - Apple iTunes Software

Professionally developed programming for K-12 classrooms.

  Math TV

Professional video lessons in mathematics. Covers basic math through calculus.

 MIT Open CourseWare

Lectures and course materials for students, teachers, and self-learners.

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Educational Links N-Z


Aggregator of high-quality educational videos from around the web.


YouTube channel with more than 3,500 videos from distinguished researchers and scholars.



Free videos from your favorite PBS programs, including NOVA and Frontline.


Video sharing platform for schools featuring original content created by students.


Library of free, full-length documentary films.

 Teachers TV

Engaging, professional videos and practical resources for educator development.


Online aggregator of educational videos.


Fascinating presentations by the world's leading thinkers and doers.


Collection of videos from professors, professionals, coaches, teachers, and consultants.


Search engine and directory of free how-to videos.

 Open Yale Courses

Free access to a selection of introductory Yale courses.

 YouTube EDU

Free lectures from more than one hundred colleges and universities.

Also see: Talks@Google


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A collection of videos, images, and other multimedia content that has fallen into the public domain.

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