Fair use is a legal principle that
provides certain limitations on the exclusive rights 2 of
copyright holders. The purpose of these guidelines is to provide guidance on the
application of fair use principles by educational institutions, educators,
scholars and students who wish to use copyrighted works for distance education
under fair use rather than by seeking authorization from the copyright owners
for non-commercial purposes. The guidelines apply to fair use only in the
context of copyright.
There is no simple test to determine
what is fair use. Section 107 of the Copyright Act 3 sets
forth the four fair use factors which should be considered in each instance,
based on the particular facts of a given case, to determine whether a use is a
"fair use": (1) the purpose and character of the use, including whether use is
of a commercial nature or is for nonprofit educational purposes, (2) the nature
of the copyrighted work, (3) the amount and substantiality of the portion used
in relation to the copyrighted work as a whole, and (4) the effect of the use
upon the potential market for or value of the copyrighted work.
While only the courts can
authoritatively determine whether a particular use is a fair use, these
guidelines represent the endorsers' consensus of conditions under which fair use
should generally apply and examples of when permission is required. Uses that
exceed these guidelines may or may not be fair use. The endorsers also agree
that the more one exceeds these guidelines, the greater the risk that fair use
does not apply.
The limitations and conditions set forth in these guidelines do not apply to works in the public domain -- such as U.S. government works or works on which the copyright has expired for which there are no copyright restrictions -- or to works for which the individual or institution has obtained permission for
the particular use. Also, license
agreements may govern the uses of some works and users should refer to the
applicable license terms for guidance.
The participants who developed these
guidelines met for an extended period of time and the result represents their
collective understanding in this complex area. Because digital technology is in
a dy- namic phase, there may come a time when it is necessary to revise these
guidelines. Nothing in these guidelines should be construed to apply to the fair
use privilege in any context outside of educational and scholarly uses of
distance education. The guidelines do not cover non-educational or commercial
digitization or use at any time, even by nonprofit educational institutions. The
guidelines are not intended to cover fair use of copyrighted works in other
educational contexts such as educational multimedia projects,
4 electronic reserves or digital images which may be addressed in other fair
This Preamble is an integral part of
these guidelines and should be included whenever the guidelines are reprinted or
adopted by organizations and educational institutions. Users are encouraged to
reproduce and distribute these guidelines freely without permission; no
copyright protection of these guidelines is claimed by any person or entity.
Section 106 of the Copyright Act
defines the right to perform or display a work as an exclusive right of the
copyright holder. The Act also provides, however, some exceptions under which it
is not necessary to ask the copyright holder's permission to perform or display
a work. One is the fair use exception contained in Section 107, which is
summarized in the preamble. Another set of exceptions, contained in Sections
110(1)-(2), permit instructors and students to perform or display copyrighted
materials without permission from the copyright holder under certain carefully
Section 110(1) permits teachers and
students in a nonprofit educational institution to perform or display any
copyrighted work in the course of face-to-face teaching activities. In
face-to-face instruction, such teachers and students may act out a play, read
aloud a poem, display a cartoon or a slide, or play a videotape so long as the
copy of the videotape was lawfully obtained. In essence, Section 110(1) permits
performance and display of any kind of copyrighted work, and even a complete
work, as a part of face-to-face instruction.
Section 110(2) permits performance of a
nondramatic literary or musical work or display of any work as a part of a
transmission in some distance learning contexts, under the specific conditions
set out in that Section. Section 110(2) does not permit performance of dramatic
or audiovisual works as a part of a transmission The statute further requires
that the transmission be directly related and of material assistance to the
teaching content of the transmission and that the transmission be received in a
classroom or other place normally devoted to instruction or by persons whose
disabilities or special circumstances prevent attendance at a classroom or other
place normally devoted to instruction.
The purpose of these guidelines is to provide guidance for the performance and display of copyrighted works in some of the distance learning environments that have developed since the enactment of Section 110 and that may not meet the specific conditions of Section 110(2). They permit instructors who meet the conditions of these guidelines to perform and display copyrighted works as if they were engaged in face-to-face instruction. They may, for example, perform an audiovisual work, even a complete one, in a one-time transmission to students so long as they meet the other conditions of these guidelines. They may not, however, allow such transmissions to result in copies for students unless they have permission to do so, any more than face-to-face instructors may make copies of audiovisual works for their students without permission.
The developers of these guidelines
agree that these guidelines reflect the principles of fair use in combination
with the specific provisions of Sections 110(1)-(2). In most respects, they
expand the provisions of Section 110(2). In some cases, students and teachers in
distance learning situations may want to perform and display only small portions
of copyrighted works that may be permissible under the fair use doctrine even in
the absence of these guidelines. Given the specific limitations set out in
Section 110(2), however, the participants believe that there may be a higher
burden of demonstrating that fair use under Section 107 permits performance or
display of more than a small portion of a copyrighted work under circumstances
not specifically authorized by Section 110(2).
1.3 DISTANCE LEARNING IN GENERAL
Broadly viewed, distance learning is an
educational process that occurs when instruction is delivered to students
physically remote from the location or campus of program origin, the main
campus, or the primary resources that support instruction. In this process, the
requirements for a course or program may be completed through remote
communications with instructional and support staff including either one-way or
two-way written, electronic or other media forms.
Distance education involves teaching
through the use of telecommunications technologies to transmit and receive
various materials through voice, video and data. These avenues of teaching often
constitute instruction on a closed system limited to students who are pursuing
educational opportunities as part of a systematic teaching activity or
curriculum and are officially enrolled in the course. Examples of such analog
and digital technologies include telecourses, audio and video teleconferences,
closed broadcast and cable television systems, microwave and ITFS, compressed
and full-motion video, fiber optic networks, audiographic systems, interactive
videodisk, satellite-based and computer networks.
2. APPLICABILITY AND ELIGIBILITY
2.1 APPLICABILITY OF THE GUIDELINES
These guidelines apply to the
performance of lawfully acquired copyrighted works not included under Section
110(2) (such as a dramatic work or an audiovisual work) as well as to uses not
covered for works that are included in Section 110(2). The covered uses are (1)
live interactive distance learning classes (i.e., a teacher in a live class with
all or some of the students at remote locations) and (2) faculty instruction
recorded without students present for later transmission. They apply to delivery
via satellite, closed circuit television or a secure computer network. They do
not permit circumven-ting anti-copying mechanisms embedded in copyrighted works.
These guidelines do not cover asynchronous delivery of distance learning over a computer network, even one that is secure and capable of limiting access to students enrolled in the course through PIN
or other identification system.
Although the participants believe fair use of copyrighted works applies in some
aspects of such instruction, they did not develop fair use guidelines to cover
these situations because the area is so unsettled. The technology is rapidly
developing, educational institutions are just beginning to experiment with these
courses, and publishers and other creators of copyrighted works are in the early
stages of developing materials and experimenting with marketing strategies for
computer network delivery of distance learning materials. Thus, consideration of
whether fair use guidelines are needed for asynchronous computer network
delivery of distance learning courses perhaps should be revisited in three to
In some cases, the guidelines do not
apply to specific materials because no permission is required, either because
the material to be performed or displayed is in the public domain, or because
the instructor or the institution controls all relevant copyrights. In other
cases, the guidelines do not apply because the copyrighted material is already
subject to a specific agreement. For example, if the material was obtained
pursuant to a license, the terms of the license apply. If the institution has
received permission to use copyrighted material specifically for distance
learning, the terms of that permission apply.
2.2.1 ELIGIBLE EDUCATIONAL INSTITUTION:
These guidelines apply to nonprofit educational institutions at all levels of
instruction whose primary focus is supporting research and instructional
activities of educators and students but only to their nonprofit activities.
They also apply to government agencies that offer instruction to their
2.2.2 ELIGIBLE STUDENTS: Only students
officially enrolled for the course at an eligible institution may view the
transmission that contains works covered by these guidelines. This may include
students enrolled in the course who are currently matriculated at another
eligible institution. These guidelines are also applicable to government agency
employees who take the course or program offered by the agency as a part of
their official duties.
3. WORKS PERFORMED FOR INSTRUCTION
3.1 RELATION TO INSTRUCTION: Works
performed must be integrated into the course, must be part of systematic
instruction and must be directly related and of material assistance to the
teaching content of the transmission. The performance may not be for
4. TRANSMISSION AND RECEPTION
4.1 TRANSMISSION (DELIVERY):
Transmission must be over a secure system with technological limitations on
access to the class or program such as a PIN number, password, smartcard or
other means of identification of the eligible student.
4.2 RECEPTION: Reception must be in a
classroom or other similar place normally devoted to instruction or any other
site where the reception can be controlled by the eligible institution. In all
such locations, the institution must utilize technological means to prevent
copying of the portion of the class session that contains performance of the
5.1 ONE TIME USE: Performance of an
entire copyrighted work or a large portion thereof may be transmitted only once
for a distance learning course. For subsequent performances, displays or access,
permission must be obtained.
5.2 REPRODUCTION AND ACCESS TO COPIES
5.2.1 RECEIVING INSTITUTION: The
institution receiving the transmission may record or copy classes that include
the performance of an entire copyrighted work, or a large portion thereof, and
retain the recording or copy for up to 15 consecutive class days (i.e., days in
which the institution is open for regular instruction) for viewing by students
enrolled in the course.5 Access to the recording or copy for such
viewing must be in a controlled environment such as a classroom, library or
media center, and the institution must prevent copying by students of the
portion of the class session that contains the performance of the copyrighted
work. If the institution wants to retain the recording or copy of the
transmission for a longer period of time, it must obtain permission from the
rightsholder or delete the portion which contains the performance of the
5.2.2 TRANSMITTING INSTITUTION: The
transmitting institution may, under the same terms, reproduce and provide access
to copies of the transmission containing the performance of a copyrighted work;
in addition, it can exercise reproduction rights provided in Section 112(b).
6.1 COMMERCIALLY PRODUCED MULTIMEDIA:
If the copyrighted multimedia work was obtained pursuant to a license agreement,
the terms of the license apply. If, however, there is no license, the
performance of the copyrighted elements of the multimedia works may be
transmitted in accordance with the provisions of these guidelines.
7. EXAMPLES OF WHEN PERMISSION IS
7.1 Commercial uses: Any commercial use
including the situation where a nonprofit educational institution is conducting
courses for a for-profit corporation for a fee such as supervisory training
courses or safety training for the corporation's employees.
7.2. Dissemination of recorded courses:
An institution offering instruction via distance learning under these guidelines
wants to further disseminate the recordings of the course or portions that
contain performance of a copyrighted work.
7.3 Uncontrolled access to classes: An
institution (agency) wants to offer a course or program that contains the
performance of copyrighted works to non-employees.
7.4 Use beyond the 15-day limitation:
An institution wishes to retain the recorded or copied class session that
contains the performance of a copyrighted work not covered in Section 110(2).
(It also could delete the portion of the recorded class session that contains
1 See Exec. Order No. 12864, 3 C.F.R. 634 (1993).
2 Information Infrastructure Task Force, National Telecommunications and Information Administration, National Information Infrastructure: Agenda for Action (1993).
3 Information Infrastructure Task Force, Global Information Infrastructure: Agenda for Cooperation (1995).
4 For list of participating agencies, see Information Infrastructure Task Force, Working Group on Intellectual Property Rights, Intellectual Property and the National Information Infrastructure: The Report of the Working Group on Intellectual Property Rights (1995) (hereinafter SWHITE PAPERT) at App. 3.