The use of film scenes, music, and content found on the Internet during class falls under the fair use exemption in the Federal Copyright Act (Section 110.1, in the Federal Copyright Act, Public Law 94-553, Title 17). The display of copyrighted materials during face-to-face teaching permits the instructor to show entire feature length films under most circumstances. The crucial distinction to understand is that the public showing of any media is narrowly defined for educational purposes and the instructor must take steps to ensure that the copyright holder’s interests are protected. Placing copyright material on the Internet must comply with the fair use exemption. Recently the Register of Copyrights ruled that short portions of motion pictures may be incorporated into new works for the purpose of criticism or comment.

Watch the video with Creative Commons licenses explained.

Follow the link to see Creative Commons licenses site.

Creative Commons license spectrum between public domain (top) and all rights reserved (bottom). Left side indicates the use-cases allowed, right side the license components. The dark green area indicates Free Cultural Works compatible licenses, the two green areas compatibility with the Remix culture. The bright green area alone can be seen as similar to the “fair use” concept, and the yellow area to the “freeware” concept.