Copyright & Recording Guidelines

Copyrights on movies, television programs, books, recordings, video games, Web sites, and other forms of media are held by the products' creators. However, for the purposes of education, allowances have been granted for the limited use of books, magazines, film, television, and computer documents - uses that do not require the copyright owner's permission.

Outlined below are guidelines for using television, Internet, and other media resources in education settings. Check your school or district guidelines for more details on using video and multimedia resources.

Cable in the Classroom programs

Cable in the Classroom designated programs may be taped off-air and retained for one year or more, unless otherwise noted. Look for the copyright code at the end of each program description for the precise educational copyright clearance:

    * YEAR: the program may be taped and saved for one year

    * 2YRS: it may be taped and saved for two years

    * FREE: it may be taped and saved in perpetuity.

Some programs may be designated for home use only:

    * RES means the program is restricted to home use;

    * FAIR means Fair Use guidelines apply (see below).

Commercial-free Cable in the Classroom video programs grant educators taping rights that exceed Fair Use. Cable in the Classroom programs:

    * may be taped by anyone, at home or at school without request*

    * may be used for education purposes only

    * allow education use for a minimum of one year

    * can be used as many times as desired

Fair Use of broadcast television programs

Fair Use applies to print, sound recordings, and broadcast television (such as ABC, CBS, Fox, NBC, PBS, UPN or WB). As far as the latter is concerned, Fair Use allows the taping of programs* for education purposes. However, the programs:

    * can only be used once with each class

    * must be used within 10 days of recording

    * must be erased after 45 days

*Under Fair Use guidelines, a program may not be taped unless a teacher specifically requests it. A library media specialist cannot, for example, tape shows in anticipation of need. Cable in the Classroom clearances allow the media specialist, without prior requests, to tape programs in which teachers may be interested.

Other cable programs

Each cable network has its own set of guidelines for non-Cable in the Classroom programs. See the specific program detail for specific information. Guidelines for the use of television programs in multimedia projects are still being developed.

Multimedia and new technologies

How copyright applies to digital content is less clear, but no less important. Although websites and their contents, software, video games, and other new media are protected by copyright, the Digital Millennium Copyright Act allows educators limited use of these new media for specific education purposes.

In multimedia products created for direct instruction or as part of student projects, educators and students can incorporate up to:

    * 10 percent or 3 minutes, whichever is less, of a single motion media work (e.g. streaming video)

    * 10 percent or 30 seconds, whichever is less, of music or lyrics from a single musical work

    * 10 percent or 1,000 words, whichever is less, from a single work of text

There are restrictions on how these projects can be stored or retained and we can only cover the basics here. For further information, see Education World's series on copyright, The Educator’s Guide to Copyright and Fair Use.