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Guide to Academic Use of Audio, Images, and Video


This LibGuide is designed to provide basic copyright and fair use information about using audio, images, and videos in the classroom. We'll also point you to resources available in the library and on the web for properly using audio, images, and video in an academic setting. Nothing in this guide should be considered legal advice.

We encourage faculty to consider completing the Copyright and Information Ethics Canvas Course to learn more about your rights and responsibilities when using media in the classroom.

What is Copyright?

Copyright is a set of rights provided by the laws of the United States (Title 17, U. S. Code) to the authors of “original works of authorship.”

This protection is available to both published and unpublished works that are fixed in a tangible medium.   Copyright does not protect ideas; it protects the expression of ideas. 

The law gives the owner of copyright the following exclusive rights:
  • To reproduce the work (i.e. to make copies);
  • To prepare derivative works (i.e. to make a movie from a book or to translate a work into another language);
  • To distribute copies publicly;
  • To perform the work publicly (i.e. a play or movie);
  • To display the work publicly; and
  • In the case of sound recordings, to perform the work publicly by means of
    a digital audio transmission.

Subject to some exceptions described in this guide (including fair use), if a person exercises any of these rights in another’s work without permission, the person may be liable for copyright infringement. 

Guide Credits

This libguide is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unportedlicense.

Portions of this guide have been borrowed from Boston College University Libraries Copyright and Scholarship Guide.

John F. Kennedy Memorial Library
California State University, Los Angeles
5151 State University Drive
Los Angeles, CA 90032-8300