Copyright & Fair Use

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Basic Copyright Rules

Under Copyright laws Instructors and students are permitted a Fair Use of video and sound from commercial sources, movies, TV shows, etc. which are not otherwise free of royalties.

Current guidelines by Minnesota State for use of copyrighted materials INSIDE classrooms allows a good deal of latitude:

"The Minnesota State Colleges and Universities Office of the Chancellor has established the following guidelines relating to the performance of copyrighted works in the classroom, distance education and in public settings, for educational purposes based on copyright law, including the recently enacted TEACH Act."
"Educators at Minnesota State Colleges and Universities colleges and universities may show, display or perform others' work in the classroom, including videos, motion pictures, other similar audiovisual works, music materials, dramatic works, and other copyrighted works under the following conditions:
  1. The showing or displaying of the work is done in the classroom or similar place devoted to instruction.
  2. The teacher and the students must be in the same location.
  3. The audience must be composed of members of one class only.
  4. The showing or displaying of the work must be part of systematic instruction, which does not include recreational or cultural programs.
  5. The showing or displaying of the work must be the decision of the instructor, a student, or a guest lecturer.
  6. In the case of videotape, film, or other audiovisual work, the work must have been lawfully obtained.
Provided these conditions are met, few restrictions are placed on educators' use of others' work in a face-to-face classroom setting."

For more information about Minnesota State policy regarding the use of copyrighted materials, go to these Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ).

The reproduction or creative appropriation of content, not simply the playing of content for the sake of discussion or interpretation, has different considerations.

If you use content OUTSIDE classrooms, the use of audio/video loops or samples that are not royalty-free should be limited by Fair Use Standards: that is, segments should not exceed 10% or 30 seconds of copyright-protected recording.


NOTE: rules for use of copyrighted materials are complex. If you have additional questions, contact:

Thomas Bremer
Dean, Library & Information Services
Somsen Hall 202B
email Dr. Bremer
(507) 457-5141