Hoping to clear up the confusion over the “fair use” of digital materials in teaching and learning, a panel of university professors has developed a “Code of Best Practices in Fair Use for Media Literacy Education.” The document clarifies how fair use applies to the most common situations where media-literacy educators make use of copyrighted materials in their work, and it offers guidance for instructors so they can make more informed judgments about using these materials. Created though a partnership among the Media Education Lab at Temple University, the Center for Social Media at American University (AU), and AU’s Washington College of Law, with funding from the MacArthur Foundation, the code identifies five principles of consensus about acceptable practices for the fair use of copyrighted materials, wherever and however it occurs: in K-12 schools, higher-education institutions, nonprofit groups that offer media-education programs for children and youth, and adult-education programs. The guidance comes as research suggests educators are shying away from using digital materials in their classrooms, fearing they could be sued for copyright violation.
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