Archive for April, 2010

Use of YouTube™ and Google™ Videos for Instruction

Q.  I am a media specialist at a high school where we have several teachers who would like to show YouTube™ and Google™ videos in the classes. We are trying to find out the copyright laws in regards to using these types of resources.

A.  The use of both the “YouTube™” and “Google™” video sites are governed by user license agreements.  Licenses are contracts that supersede copyright laws and privileges.  At the bottom of the home pages for both sites, you will find in small print the words “Terms of Use.”  If you click on on this link, you will be brought to the license/contract language governing what the user is allowed to do and restricted from doing when using videos found on “YouTube™” and “Google™.”

In both cases, they make it known that if the images, logos, videos, artwork, text or other content is the creation and property of “YouTube™ or Google™”, the license requires that you obtain prior permission when using the materials for anything other than personal use.  Content that is contributed by users is protected by Copyright Law and that is stated in both licenses.  Since the licenses basically state that the contributed works are under Copyright protection, then Fair Use, special exemptions under the law and  privileges found in the various Copyright Guidelines and in Distance Learning (The TEACH Act ) would still apply.

In the case of contributed materials to these sites, linking to the specific materials would appear to be permissible, as well as live presentations in class, as per Section 110(1) of the Copyright Law, granting educators the right to display and perform copyrighted materials for the purpose of “Face-to-Face” instruction.  However, when it comes to a use that would require downloading the videos, archiving them for later use, or incorporating them into a distance learning course or other presentation, it appears, from the license statements, that owners of the content need to be contacted, unless the owners of that content have stated in their submission that end users have the right to download or retransmit the materials.  In the case of “YouTube™”, if the individual video doesn’t have a download button on the page that hosts the individual video, then, according to the “YouTube™”, Terms of Use Agreement, it would not be permissible to download or copy that video.

It is important to become familiar with the “Terms of Use” for both sites and to understand the privileges and limitations stated therein.

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Using Music In Student Created PowerPoint™ Presentations

Q.  What are the rules regarding the use of music in student created, PowerPoint ™ presentations?

A.  The Educational MultiMedia Guidelines (see  provide an interpretation of Fair Use as to the limits for using various forms of media in a multimedia presentation, such as Powerpoint™.  However, it should be noted that the guidelines were negotiated between copyright owners and educators and the compromise wording sets a conservative floor for what may be done, but not what may possibly be legally done when applying the four criteria of Fair Use.

In other words, there may be instances when more than what is stated in the Guidelines may be used, especially if the student presentations are being made for a class in media literacy or a teacher is teaching using the techniques of media literacy, rather than the traditional use of media.  Please reference the “Code of Best Practices in Fair Use in Media Literacy Education” which can be found at:

Make sure to read all the introductory material, and not just the five principles, in order to understand the limits and conditions regarding what is being stated.

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