music in multimedia projects

← Return to forum

  • If a student owns a CD or paid for a download to their iPod, can they use an entire song in their multimedia project or are they restriced to the 30% rule?

    Does the mulitmedia project have to remain within the intranet of the school or can it be posted to a teacher's website that is viewable from the outside?
  • There is no such thing as a 30% rule. Many institutions create their own copyright policies that say things like, "Never use more than 30% of a copyrighted work" because it's an easy way to ensure that employees make uses that are more likely to be fair uses, but it's nowhere in copyright law.

    Instead, you have to consider the four factors of fair use: nature of the work being used, purpose of the use, amount of the work being used, and potential impact on the market for the original.

    In this case, you've got students using entire creative works (songs) for non-profit educational purposes. I'd say that as long as you limit access to the projects by keeping them on the school's intranet and not posting them to the open web, you've got a pretty strong argument for fair use.

    I would strongly recommend against posting the projects on the open web, especially if the songs the students use are recent and popular. Big music companies are extraordinarily litigious these days, and they regularly object to uses that are probably fair. It's not worth the hassle.

Posting to the forum is only available to users who are logged in.

← Return to forum