The Documentalist

Center for Social Media “Fair Use Toolkit”

Posted in Uncategorized by Sarah on February 2, 2010

I stumbled across this resource on The Hub (the participatory website associated with WITNESS) and thought it worth sharing.  It is a Fair Use Toolkit offered by the Center for Social Media to help people negotiate issues of copyright and proper source acknowledgment when posting digital media on the web.


Image courtesy of the Center for Social Media

Center for Social Media

The Center for Social Media is part of the American University’s School of Communication, and its purpose is to “investigate, showcase and set standards for socially engaged media-making.”  In order to accomplish this, the website offers a number of resources, including “best practices” reports to help documentary film makers, educators, and researchers negotiate the use of published material for their work.    Further resources can be found in a drop-down menu under the “Resources” tab on the top of all of their pages. These include links to video tutorials and documents that are designed to help users learn how to participate in fair use strategies.  The site also maintains a blog where they run up-to-date discussions of fair use and how to apply it in new circumstances.

Fair Use

As defined on the Center for Social Media’s “Fair Use & Copyright” page:

Fair use is the right, in some circumstances, to quote copyrighted material without asking permission or paying for it. Fair use enables the creation of new culture, and keeps current copyright holders from being private censors. With the Washington College of Law, the Center for Social Media creates tools for creators, teachers, and researchers to better use their fair use rights.  (click here for more information)

For further general information on the definition and application of the Declaration of Fair Use in Copyright, see Wikipeida’s Fair Use article.


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