Best Practices in Copyright and Fair Use for User-Generated Content

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PIJIP and the American University Center for Social Media announce the release of a new code of best practices in fair use for creators in the burgeoning online video environment. Collaboratively created by a team of media scholars and lawyers, these best practices will allow users to make remixes, mashups, and other common online genres with the knowledge that they are staying within copyright law.

Until now, anyone uploading a video has run the risk of becoming inadvertently entangled in an industry skirmish, as media companies struggle to keep their programs from circulating on the internet. As online providers have begun to negotiate with media companies, a consensus has emerged that fair use should be protected. Before the code's release, there was no clear statement about what constitutes fair use in online video.

The code identifies, among other things, six kinds of unlicensed uses of copyrighted material that may be considered fair, under certain limitations. They are:

  • Commenting or critiquing of copyrighted material
  • Use for illustration or example
  • Incidental or accidental capture of copyrighted material
  • Memorializing or rescuing of an experience or event
  • Use to launch a discussion
  • Recombining to make a new work, such as a mashup or a remix, whose elements depend on relationships between existing works

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