Fair Use Info

This is not comprehensive but will serve as a quick check for common situations. If you need to use more than allowed under these guidelines, write to the permissions department of the copyright holder’s publisher. All material copied under these guidelines must have copyright attribution attached, whether permissions are needed or not. A more complete discussion is in Copyright Condensed located in flex area offices.

Teachers may make single copies of:

  • A chapter from a book
  • An article from a periodical or newspaper
  • A short story, essay, or short poem
  • A still photo or illustration of any kind, but no more than 5 images from one author

Teachers may make multiple copies for classroom use only, not to exceed one per student per term, of:

  • A complete poem, or excerpt, no more than 250 words
  • No more than 3 poems by the same author
  • A complete article, story or essay of less than 2500 words
  • An excerpt from a prose work less than 1000 words or 10% of work, whichever is less
  • A still photo or illustration of any kind, but no more than 5 images from one author

In general, you may use the smaller amounts of these materials:

  • Motion media: 10% or 3 minutes
  • Music lyrics, music video: 10% or 30 seconds
  • Numerical data sets: 10% of 2500 fields or cells

Teachers MAY NOT:

  • Make multiple copies of  work already copied for classroom use in the same institution
  • Copy to replace an anthology
  • Copy consumable materials such as worksheets or exercises
  • Copy to avoid purchase
  • Copy without attribution

The TEACH act allows use of AV materials in face-to-face classroom instruction as part of the curriculum. Attribution must be included. You MAY NOT use these materials for entertainment or show them to a general audience without a public performance license, or charge to see them.

Your instructional website is subject to these guidelines. Get the necessary permissions; use only for the time allowed; password-protect portions which may be subject to unlawful reproduction; post attributions. If in doubt, get permission.

Useful Links:

The Consortium of College and University Media Centers: Useful discussion and links for many questions involving the fair use rules.

From Now On: Jamie McKenzie has held many positions in education including Superintendant of Schools in Bellingham and writes widely on educational uses of technology. This link lays out the case for copyright protections and how they apply in a technological environment. As you will see, he has many links to other great resources including a rebuttal of his main article.

Stanford University Library Fair Use Policy Page: Aside from being the last place you will need to look to answer questions, the sheer number of topics and links give you a feel for the enormous complexity of the issue.

Copyright Clearance Center: The place to go for getting rights and licensing. Many useful links here.

University of Texas: Very clear and detailed explication of fair use with examples and answers to specific situations. The Rules of Thumb section helps you sort out your thinking using your own situation.

Reproduction of Copyrighted Works by Educators and Librarians: Familiarly known as Circular 21, this 24 page booklet may be freely downloaded and copied, as may most government documents. The name says it all.

Copyright Advisory Office for Columbia University Library: Links to checklists and guidelines to evaluate your own use of copyrighted material.

Bellingham School District’s Guidelines for Technology Policies: Sample permissions requests and guidelines for web publishing.

Distance Education and the TEACH Act: Consult this document for a legal opinion on what can be on your web page if in doubt.


This document has been prepared to help you comply with the stated policies of the Edmonds School District.

Administrative Regulation 7396-R1 Electronic Information Systems (Networks)

Acceptable Network and Internet Use Procedures and Guidelines of the Edmonds School District states “The unauthorized installation, use, storage or distribution of copyrighted software or materials on District computers is prohibited. All users of the Network shall comply with current copyright laws.” Edmonds School Board Policy 4400 “It is the policy of Edmonds School District that all employees shall comply with the Federal Copyright Law.”