Educational Fair Use Copyright Guidelines for Educators and Students (8/25/2003)

  • A copyrighted work is protected. The following guidelines outline permitted use of copyrighted materials in educational "fair use" situations. The fair use provision allows materials to be used, unaltered, in an educational setting.

  • The tests for allowable copying for classroom use are brevity, spontaneity, and cumulative effect. Each copy must contain a notice of copyright and the citation to the work. Write for permission if you wish to exceed the limits listed below.


  • Up to 10% or 1000 words, whichever is less.


  • Short poems less than 250 words may be used in entirety; three poems by one author or five poems by different authors from single anthology.

  • For poems longer than 250 words, follow 10% rule; three excerpts from one poet or five e excerpts from different poets form single anthology.

Video, Film, and  Television

  • Up to 10% or three minutes, whichever is less, from a single program.

Songs, and Music Video

  • Up to 10% but not more than 30 seconds from a single work, even if extracts are combined.

  • A video clip with music is subject to the 30-second limitation

Illustrations and Photographs

  • An entire work may be used if it has no more than five images from artist or photographer.

  • In larger works, no more than 10% or 15 images maybe be used.

Internet Software, Images, Sound, and Text

  • All are subject to copyright restrictions, unless they are in public domain (U.S. government) or you have a license (clip art; web page software).

  • Links to web pages are permissible.

Carter, Jeff. "Copyright Strategies for the New Millennium." Cable in the Classroom July-Aug. 1999:8-10.

Morin, Gavino. "Internet Copyright Issues Affecting Public Schools." Paper, RGV workshop. McAllen, TX: Feb. 19, 1999.

Simpson, Carol Mann. Copyright for Schools: A Practical Guide. 2nd ed. Worthington, OH: Linworth, 1997.

Digital Millennium Copyright Act, 1998

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