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Video Creation and Production Preparation Resources: Copyright and Fair Use Information

Copyright and Fair Use: Understanding Your Options


Unless your plan to create original images or video clips for your media production, it is essential for you to understand Copyright and Fair Use when educational materials are being created.


Without exception, when a created piece using another person's work generates revenue, copyright law requires getting permission to use that created piece from it's owner. Any fees required for that permission is legally due to the owner of that created piece.

Fair Use

However, when media pieces are created for educational reasons it is possible to use copyrighted materials in a somewhat limited degree without acquiring permission from its owner. Columbia University has an extremely useful checklist for clarifying acceptable Fair Use from unacceptable Fair Use. Please consult with this document to ensure your media piece is in compliance with Copyright and Fair Use legal requirements.

For additional information, Bitlaw: A Free Legal Resource Focusing on Intellectual Property has more information on the topic in their Fair Use in Copy Right Law post.

Copyright and Fair Use Animation Video

Video created by Common Sense Education. "Common Sense Education offers free resources for teaching in the digital age."

Important Things to Note for Your Production: Getting Permission to Use Content


  • If you find content online you would like to use in your production, you must investigate to determine if it can be freely used or if it requires the permission of its creator. You will need to look through the website on which it is posted to find the owner of the work or to find any legal information regarding the use of materials posted on the site. 
  • If permission is required, you must contact the owner and ask for permission. 
  • If you cannot determine ownership or any other information to help you with the legal use of the content, you may want to use different content. The web is not a free for all and legal problems could potentially arise for you. Links such as Terms of use or any explanation of the website content usually contains such information.
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