Best Practices in Fair Use

Publications and Completed Projects

Principles in Fair Use for Journalism

This document is a statement of principles to help journalists in the United States interpret the copyright doctrine of fair use. It is intended for anyone who engages in the set of practices that entails creating media of any kind that refers to real-life events of public interest, in service of public knowledge, whether that person is a full-time professional or an individual who takes it upon himself or herself to report about specific issues or events.

The Code of Best Practices for Academic and Research Libraries

This is a code of best practices in fair use devised specifically by and for the academic and research library community. It enhances the ability of librarians to rely on fair use by documenting the considered views of the library community about best practices in fair use, drawn from the actual practices and experience of the library community itself.

Reclaiming Fair Use

Released in July 2011, this book by Professors Patricia Aufderheide, director of the Center for Social Media, and Peter Jaszi, Professor of Law in the Washington College of Law at American University, urges a robust embrace  of a principle long-embedded in copyright law, but too often poorly understood—fair use. By challenging the widely held notion that current copyright law has become unworkable and obsolete in the era of digital technologies, Reclaiming Fair Use promises to reshape the debate in both scholarly circles and the creative community.

Code of Best Practices in Fair Use for Poetry

This code of best practices helps poets understand when they and others have the right to excerpt, quote and use copyrighted material in poetry. To create this code, poets came together to articulate their common expectations, facilitated by Patricia Aufderheide, director of the Center for Social Media; Katharine Coles, director of the Harriet Monroe Poetry Institute at the Poetry Foundation; Peter Jaszi, Professor of Law in the Washington College of Law at American University; and Jennifer Urban, Professor of Law at the University of California Berkeley.

Fair Use Challenges in Academic and Research Libraries

This report summarizes research into the current application of fair use and other copyright exemptions to meet the missions of U.S. academic and research libraries.  It is the product of a collaboration between the Association of Research Libraries, the AU Center for Social Media, and the Program on Information Justice and Intellectual Property.

Frequently Asked Questions on Fair Use

Does the Documentary Filmmaker’s Statement of Best Practices actually carry weight with broadcasters and insurance companies? What is the appropriate length of a clip to fair use? Does it matter if you are a non-profit organization vs. a commercial organization? Is fair use stealing? …and more.

Recut, Reframe, Recycle

When college kids make mashups of Hollywood movies, are they violating the law? Not necessarily, according to the latest study on copyright and creativity from PIJIP and the AU Center for Social Media. It shows that many uses of copyrighted material in today’s online videos are eligible for fair use consideration.

Yes, You Can” – Where You Don’t Even Need Fair Use

The answers to some of filmmakers’ most common clearance questions don’t really lie in the realm of “fair use” at all, but fall under the heading of “free use.” Some examples include buildings that can be seen from public areas, any works made by the federal goverrnment, and reproductions of public domain works in museums or private collections.

Documentary Filmmakers’ Statement of Best Practices in Fair Use

The Association of Independent Video and Filmmakers, Independent Feature Project, International Documentary Association, National Alliance for Media Arts and Culture, and Women in Film and Video, in consultation with PIJIP and the AU Center for Social Media.