A Teacher’s Guide to Copyright and Fair Use Policies for Classroom Videos – By Jammy Brennan
The age of videos is upon us and it’s taking over our classrooms fast leaving teachers scrambling to understand copyright law and fair use policies. Video use is increasing as educators and educational institutions look for different ways to improve learning efficiency. As we have covered here at School Tube, the use of videos in classrooms can help students improve lesson understanding and retention through controlled learning to suit their pace. The goals of this blog are to provide resources to teachers who want to use video in the classroom and to increase their understanding of copyright fair use policies.
Educational Video Trends
Video is being utilized in classrooms to varying degrees. Methods like the Flipped Learning approach, where videos are watched prior to class or at home, are making a positive impact. Some teachers record their lessons as they are being taught, then post the recording immediately following class. There are also interactive in-class videos that allow students to take notes and react as a class to the onscreen content. Transcripts of videos as hand-outs or using videos from already established platforms like Ted-Ed, and Nearpod are also growing in popularity.
Currently, most students have access to smartphones and tablets, especially at middle and high school levels. In fact, a National Center for Education Statistics survey showed that in the last 5 years, cellphone prohibition in K-12 schools has gone down from 90% to 60%, as more and more teachers use the devices as educational tools. This shift in perception mirrors the digital world in which students are growing up. Analysis of the current state of communication by Maryville University details how there has been a 63% year-over-year growth in mobile traffic. Maryville also notes that 60% of this traffic was through mobile videos. Outside of school, video is where many students get their information. As the perception of watching video shifts from causing a distraction to becoming a valid educational tool, the use of video materials in education will soon become the norm rather than the exception.
This is good news for increasing teaching efficiency, right? Well, it’s more complicated than that.
Fair Use Policy Resources
While there are millions of videos available that can suit and blend in with your lessons, one of the biggest challenges in using videos in the classroom is navigating U.S. laws and ethics on copyright and fair use policies. Copyright is the protection the law places on original works against theft and unauthorized use. This can limit the type of videos a teacher can use, however teacher use of some copyrighted material is available under what is known as the Fair Use Policy. An excellent resource and guide has been published by Edublogs which explains “fair use policy” and provides links and resources to help teachers navigate the copyright landscape. While fair use policy can mitigate legal violations, it depends on the purpose of use, nature of the work, and potential commercial impact of use.
Luckily, there are legal fixes being lobbied, and some implemented sporadically, to create more copyright exceptions for works used for education purposes. In their position paper, Communia asserts that stringent copyright laws shouldn’t constrain educators but rather be flexible enough to exempt legitimate and fair use in classroom settings.
While there is a growing library of public domain, open source, and fair use covered videos out there for educational use, it pays to know your legal boundaries as modern educators. This will ensure that neither you nor your school gets into any trouble.
Author Bio: Jammy Brennan is an education blogger. Her passion for writing about teaching flows through her insatiable search for more efficient education structures. She hopes that her own articles can be as educational as the methods she promotes.