Here’s a basic rundown of permissible uses of protected multimedia materials:

Audio. Fair use allows teachers to record parts of audio materials for use with students in situations other than for performances. In its multimedia guidelines, the Conference on Fair Use (CONFU) recommends you use no more than 10 percent of an audio recording, or 30 seconds total.

Video. Videotapes and movies may be used in the classroom, though showing an entire work only has educational value in a film class. Guidelines for video recordings taped in a school are similar to those that govern library books, in that fair use typically applies for a set amount of time—usually 10 days after broadcast for viewing and an additional 45 days for evaluation. Anything longer, and you’ll probably have to pay the distributor, who may or may not extend the period.

Multimedia. Curriculum-based projects incorporating materials from CD-ROMs, the internet, or other multimedia materials are permitted only within the “classroom community.” It should be noted that the learning community does extend to the home, so projects can be shared with students’ families.

Internet. You can use materials from the internet in projects, as long as those projects are not posted back to the web. However, posting the project on a secure intranet is acceptable—but again, it must remain inside the “classroom community.”

Distance learning. Still to be determined, though the U.S. Copyright Office has passed along a recommendation to the Senate regarding fair use in web-based education. The Copyright Office suggests that students engaged in online learning should be extended the same fair use rights as those in traditional classrooms.