Faculty/Staff

Copyright Guidelines for Multimedia

Current technology has made it easy to combine many different media, putting multimedia developers at risk of copyright infringement. Because various forms of artistic expression are combined in multimedia works, the legal issues of copyright are very complex. Text, images, audio, video, and graphics are material combined in multimedia and ALL are protected under copyright law.

Rules of Thumb 

  • Students and teachers who produce multimedia works for educational purposes may use small portions of lawfully acquired copyrighted works with proper credit to the source and the copyright owner.
  • Students and teachers can use:
    • Ten percent or three minutes of motion media.
    • Ten percent or 1000 words of text materials.
    • Five images by an artist or photographer or 10 percent or15 images from a collective work.
    • Ten percent or 2500 fields or cell entries from a copyrighted database or data table.
    • Ten percent or 30 seconds of music and lyrics from one work or from several extracts from one work.
  • Student-produced multimedia works may be performed and displayed for educational purposes in the course for which they were created; students may retain multimedia works in a portfolio for later personal use such as job or graduate school interviews.
  • Faculty-produced multimedia works may be performed and displayed for educational purposes for a period of up to two years following the date of first instructional use with a class; faculty may retain multimedia works in a portfolio for later personal use such as job or tenure interviews.
  • Student- and faculty-produced multimedia works may be performed and displayed at open houses, in-service workshops, and professional conferences.
  • Student- and faculty-produced multimedia works must contain an opening screen “fair use” statement. The source(s) and owner(s) of copyrighted work(s) must be properly credited.
  • The preparation of educational multimedia projects incorporating copyrighted works under the Fair Use Guidelines for Educational Multimedia are subject to time, portion, copying and distribution limits.

Take a Copyright Quiz!

In this quiz you will be asked a series of 12 True or False questions.

Copyright Quiz on Multimedia

Additional Resources

American DE Consortium: Fair Use Guidelines For Educational Multimedia

CCUMC: Copyright Initiatives

CONFU: The Conference on Fair Use