Tool

Information Ethics

In this unit, the student will use information ethically and legally.
 

Ethical and Legal Use of Information (Part 1): Introduction Video

Using information responsibly is an essential part of your academic duty. In this 4:32 minute introduction created by Bethany Mickel, learn what it means to use information ethically and legally.

Ethical and Legal Use of Information (Part 1): Introduction Video Transcript

[IMAGE of tools in the Madison Research Essentials Toolkit]

Narrator: Welcome back to the Madison Research Essentials Toolkit.

[IMAGE of the Information Literacy learning objectives, focusing on the sixth competency]

Narrator: In this module, we’re going to talk about this general education Information Literacy learning outcome [ZOOM]: “Use information ethically and legally.”

[IMAGE of a woman sitting on a sofa with a laptop]

Narrator: Legally and ethically using information can be a bit of a grey area as the digital era pushes our understanding of what is new, what is borrowed, and what is stolen.

[IMAGE of the feet of a gymnast on a balance beam]

Narrator: There are a number of cultural, ethical, economic, legal and social issues that surround the use of information for your research. At times, all of these factors seem a bit like a balancing act.

[IMAGE of a large street sign with the word “Ethics” on it]

Narrator: Let’s examine the term ethics. Ethics are the moral principles that govern a person’s or group’s behavior. When someone else’s work is used, it is ethical to give credit to the content’s original creator.

[IMAGE of a reference page]

Narrator: How one does so is through citing sources.

[IMAGE of a sign with the words “Stay tuned…”]

Narrator: Source citation is the topic of another tutorial within this module—so stay tuned!

[IMAGE of a man brainstorming on a glass wall]

Narrator: Giving credit where credit is due is ethically the right thing to do. Consider a project that you work hard to complete. You invest a lot of time and effort into the final product. Now, consider someone else using that product without giving credit to you—the original creator.

[IMAGE of a person writing, “I will not copy again” on a chalkboard]

Narrator: Plagiarism is an infraction resulting from the unethical use of information, and it is considered cheating. An in-depth topic, please view the accompanying tutorial to learn more.

[IMAGE of a professor with a complex scientific model]

Narrator: Ethical use of information is a big deal at the University because, in addition to teaching students, research is one of the mainstays of what universities do.

[IMAGE of writing in a foreign language]

Narrator: Ethical research practice mandates that we play by the rules established for using information of all kinds.

[IMAGE of statue holding the scales of justice]

Narrator: While ethics help guide our moral compass, legally, we are also obliged to provide proper credit.

[IMAGE of man drawing a lightbulb]

Narrator: We must consider not only who owns the content, but also the duration of their ownership and who has the right to legally use the content in certain circumstances.

[IMAGE of a twisting road]

Narrator: Navigating ethical and legal use of information can be a complex issue; therefore, let’s begin by discussing intellectual property.

[IMAGE of a human skull with wheels in the brain and the following words broken out into text boxes: paintings; songs; scientific formulae; inventions; novels; plays; poems; plans; drawings]

Narrator: According to the World Intellectual Property Organization, intellectual property refers to ‘creations of the mind including paintings, songs, scientific formulae, inventions, novels, plays, poems, plans, and drawings.’

[IMAGE of graphing materials]

Narrator: Anything you have written, drawn, invented, or created is your intellectual property and is protected by copyright. Copyright law also ensures that an individual’s work is not used without their permission and/or without them receiving proper credit.

[IMAGE of a sign with the words, “stay tuned”]

Narrator: There are certain circumstances where you can use copyrighted material and this is considered fair use. As with many topics regarding the legal aspect of copyright law, fair use is an in-depth topic. Please stay tuned and view the accompanying tutorial.

[IMAGE of the James Madison University Honor Code]

Narrator: As you study at JMU, the Honor Code will provide guidance on the ethical use of information within your classes. In college, if you borrow some else’s ideas without acknowledging them, you are in violation of the Honor Code. These infractions are usually resolved through the Honor Council and professors.

[IMAGE of a courtroom gavel]

Narrator: In the ‘real world,’ these breaches of ethical use of information can have very real, legal consequences.

[IMAGE of an article titled “Kolon indicted in DuPont Trade Secrets Case” with an arrow pointing to the words intellectual property]

Narrator: It is obvious that the need for the understanding of the proper way to use information in an ethically and legally sound manner does not end upon graduation. These issues will continue to impact you beyond JMU.

[IMAGE of a girl in the stacks of a library]

Narrator: As future writers, artists, and inventors, you will want to receive credit for your hard work and, in turn, need to extend the same credit to others. The following tutorials will help you use information legally and ethically.

[IMAGE of JMU Libraries’ homepage with ‘Ask the Library’ IMAGE circled in red]

Narrator: This tutorial should have provided you with information about the importance of the ethical and legal use of information. Do you still have questions? Feel free to use the Ask the Library [ZOOM] link on the library homepage to connect with a librarian. We are here to help.

End of Ethical and Legal Use of Information (Part 1): Introduction Video Transcript

Ethical and Legal Use of Information (Part 2): Plagiarism Video

This 6:39 minute tutorial provides you with important information related to plagiarism and offers examples of summarizing, paraphrasing, and direct quotes. Created by Bethany Mickel.

Ethical and Legal Use of Information (Part 2): Plagiarism Video Transcript

[IMAGE of tools in the Madison Research Essentials Toolkit]

Narrator: Welcome back to the Madison Research Essentials Toolkit.

[IMAGE of the Information Literacy learning objectives, focusing on the sixth competency]

Narrator: In this tutorial, [ZOOM to TEXT] we will build upon our understanding of the importance of ethical and legal use of information by examining the topic of plagiarism.

[IMAGE of the JMU Honor Code]

Narrator: At JMU, plagiarism is defined in the Honor Code as [ZOOM to TEXT] “copying information, ideas, or phrasing of another person without proper acknowledgement of the true source; writing or presenting as if it is you own information, ideas, or phrasing without proper acknowledgement of the true source.”

[IMAGE of a university building with off-shoot TEXT of ‘teach students’ and ‘conduct research’]

Narrator: Perhaps one of the best ways to understand plagiarism at the University is to revisit the information from the introductory tutorial regarding the dual purpose of universities—to teach students and to conduct research to develop new information and ideas.

[IMAGE of two women talking while sitting on a park bench]

Narrator: Research and scholarship can be thought of as an on-going building process or a conversation. An author is speaking to you about their ideas, you are “listening” and may “repeat back” what you “hear.”

[IMAGE of different colors of blocks stacked on top of one another]

Narrator: Each new idea is built upon a previous idea.

[IMAGE a microphone on a podium and an IMAGE of a young man working on a laptop and an IMAGE of a film reel]

Narrator: Whether you are giving a speech, writing a paper, or producing a movie—when you use a source, you cite it.

[IMAGE of Tragedy and Comedy theatre masks]

Narrator: The same is also true of the source material. It might be a quote from a play, a journal article, or a work of art—if you use some else’s work—you must give attribution.

[IMAGE of a lion and TEXT ‘Lions are apex and keystone predators’ and IMAGE of box with arrow with TEXT common knowledge for a zoologist]

Narrator: There are times when you might encounter information that is considered ‘common knowledge.’ In various fields of study, there is information that experts consider commonly known.

[IMAGE of a lion with two break-out boxes of TEXT]

Narrator: While it might be tempting to omit citing this information, it is important to ask yourself two questions:

[ZOOM to TEXT] Did I know this information before taking this course? [ZOOM OUT]

[ZOOM to TEXT] Did the information or idea come from my own brain? [ZOOM OUT]

[IMAGE of two break-out boxes with TEXT ‘Did I know this information before taking this course?’ and ‘Did the information or idea come from my own brain?’ and the TEXT ‘No’ in red with an IMAGE of a black arrow pointing to the TEXT ‘Cite Your Source’ in green]

Narrator: If your response to either of these questions is NO, then it is essential that you cite the source of information.

[IMAGE of the U.S. Constitution on the left and IMAGE of William Shakespeare on the right]

Narrator: A paper comprised mostly of direct quotes is not a good one; however, you should quote when you can’t communicate the ideas more effectively than the original author did OR when you are working with an important text—we don’t paraphrase the Constitution or Shakespeare, for example.

[IMAGE of a close-up of a woman’s hand writing on paper with a pencil]

Narrator: In other words, you demonstrate your understanding of a source when you commit to putting it into your own words. Once way to do so is to think about having a conversation with the author.

[IMAGE of three break-out boxes of TEXT on the left side indicating: ‘Did I simply change a few words?’ ‘Did I use synonyms for the author’s original words?’ and ‘Did I change the original sentence structure while keeping the author’s original words?’ and IMAGE of a blue question mark on the right side]

Narrator: Whatever method you use to incorporate source material—all require proper citation and a careful examination of the following questions.

[ZOOM to TEXT] Did I simply change a few words? [ZOOM OUT]

[ZOOM to TEXT] Did I use synonyms for the author’s original words? [ZOOM OUT]

[ZOOM to TEXT] Did I change the original sentence structure while keeping the author’s original words? [ZOOM OUT]

[IMAGE of three break-out boxes of TEXT on the left side indicating: ‘Did I simply change a few words?’ ‘Did I use synonyms for the author’s original words?’ and ‘Did I change the original sentence structure while keeping the author’s original words?’ and TEXT of ‘Yes’ in red in the middle of the page and TEXT of ‘Plagiarizing’ in green on the right side]

Narrator: If your response to any of these questions is yes, then it is plagiarizing NOT paraphrasing.

[IMAGE of open books stacked on top of one another on a table]

Narrator: When properly used, paraphrasing is a fine way to use another person’s ideas to support your writing; however, it is still essential that you attribute those ideas to that author and cite the source. Remember, this pertains to all source material.

[TEXT ‘Original Passage’ in purple at top of page and TEXT ‘Students frequently overuse direct quotations in taking notes, and as a result they overuse quotations in the final [research] paper. Probably only about 10% of your final manuscript should appear as directly quoted matter. Therefore, you should strive to limit the amount of exact transcribing of sources materials while taking notes. Lester, James D. Writing Research Papers. 2nd ed. (1976): 46-47.’]

Narrator: Let’s look at this example from the Purdue University Online Writing Lab. Take a moment and read through the original passage. You may wish to pause this tutorial while you do so.

[TEXT ‘Plagiarized Passage’ in purple at top of page and TEXT ‘Student often use too many direct quotations when they take notes, resulting in too many of them in the final research paper. In fact, probably only about 10% of the final copy should consist of directly quoted material. So it is important to limit the amount of source material copied while taking notes.’]

Narrator: Now, let’s look at an example of a plagiarized version of this passage. Once again, you may wish to pause the tutorial while you read.

[TEXT ‘Original Passage’ in purple at top of page and TEXT ‘Students frequently overuse direct quotations in taking notes, and as a result they overuse quotations in the final [research] paper. Probably only about 10% of your final manuscript should appear as directly quoted matter. Therefore, you should strive to limit the amount of exact transcribing of sources materials while taking notes. Lester, James D. Writing Research Papers. 2nd ed. (1976): 46-47.’ AND TEXT ‘Plagiarized Passage’ in purple underneath and TEXT ‘Student often use too many direct quotations when they take notes, resulting in too many of them in the final research paper. In fact, probably only about 10% of the final copy should consist of directly quoted material. So it is important to limit the amount of source material copied while taking notes.’]

Narrator: When we re-examine the original passage, we can see that the author of the plagiarized version simply re-arranged the sentence structure and used different synonyms. Pause the recording while you compare the two.

[TEXT ‘Correctly Paraphrased Passage in purple at top of page and TEXT ‘In research papers students often quote excessively, failing to keep quoted material down to a desirable level. Since the problem usually originates during note taking, it is essential to minimize the material recorded verbatim (Lester 46-47).’ ]

Narrator: Next, let’s look at an example of a legitimate paraphrase of the original passage. Please pause this tutorial while you do so.

[TEXT ‘Original Passage’ in purple at top of page and TEXT ‘Students frequently overuse direct quotations in taking notes, and as a result they overuse quotations in the final [research] paper. Probably only about 10% of your final manuscript should appear as directly quoted matter. Therefore, you should strive to limit the amount of exact transcribing of sources materials while taking notes. Lester, James D. Writing Research Papers. 2nd ed. (1976): 46-47.’ AND TEXT ‘Correctly Paraphrased Passage’ in purple underneath and TEXT ‘In research papers students often quote excessively, failing to keep quoted material down to a desirable level. Since the problem usually originates during note taking, it is essential to minimize the material recorded verbatim (Lester 46-47).’]

Narrator: This student takes the original passage and states it in his own words while making sure to credit the original author. This is proper paraphrasing.

[IMAGE of smiling man resting his arms on top of a stack of books]

Narrator: A good way to check to see if you are paraphrasing properly is to close your book and write down the material that you recall in your own words or talk back to your source.

[IMAGE of Turnitin logo]

Narrator: At JMU, instructors may opt to have you submit your work through Turnitin. Once submitted, Turnitin will check your work for originality against its vast data base (roughly 45 billion pages—and growing) of digital content that includes archived material and content that is no longer available—as well as student submissions, professional and academic journals, and publications.

[IMAGE of the following books: The Complete Guide to Referencing and Avoiding Plagiarism; Plagiarism: Alchemy and Remedy in Higher Education; Plagiarism: A How-Not-To Guide for Students; Stop Plagiarism: A Guide to Understanding and Prevention]

Narrator: The JMU libraries have excellent reference guides related to plagiarism. Educate yourself. Ultimately, it is your job to be a responsible and ethical member of the academic community.

[IMAGE of JMU’s University Writing Center website]

Narrator: The JMU University Writing Center is another excellent resource for help with attribution and paraphrasing.

[TEXT ‘What’s Next?’]

Narrator: The next tutorial relates to citation and will help clarify the different methods and formats.

[ZOOM to image of librarians and ‘Ask the Library’ link circled in red]

Narrator: This tutorial should have provided you with information about plagiarism. Do you still have questions? Feel free to use the Ask the Library [ZOOM to image of librarians and ‘Ask the Library’ link circled in red] link on the library homepage to connect with a librarian. We are here to help. Be sure to view the accompanying tutorial for more information on the citation.

End of Ethical and Legal Use of Information (Part 2): Plagiarism Video Transcript

Ethical and Legal Use of Information (Part 3): Citation Video

Crediting your sources is critical. Learn about proper citation in this 7:12 minute tutorial created by Bethany Mickel.

Ethical and Legal Use of Information (Part 3): Citation Video Transcript

[IMAGE of tools in the Madison Research Essentials Toolkit]

Narrator: Welcome back to the Madison Research Essentials Toolkit.

[IMAGE of the Information Literacy learning objectives, focusing on the sixth competency]

Narrator: In this tutorial, [ZOOM TO TEXT] we will build upon our understanding of the importance of ethical and legal use of information by examining the topic of citation.

Narrator: Citation—which is providing in-text or parenthetical and bibliographic credit—is an essential component of being an ethical scholar.

Narrator: Let’s begin by examining WHY we cite sources. If you recall, we previously discussed how research and scholarship is an on-going building process or conversation. Academic writing is built on the work of others and those individuals deserve credit for their hard work and research.

Narrator: Citations serve three main roles in scholarly work. Let’s take a closer look…First, citations allow you to show that your research and work is built upon solid research that was conducted by others. It lends credibility to your work. In this manner, you are adding your contributions to a larger body of scholarship.

Narrator: Secondly, citations allow you to specifically indicate which ideas were taken from others and from whom those ideas were taken. Like an actor accepting an award and thanking those who helped him along the way, citations are the way that you—as a scholar—give credit to the researchers that assisted your writing.

Narrator: Thirdly, an important part of scholarship is to question and clarify what is read. When you cite your sources, you are allowing the reader the opportunity to investigate the ideas on which the argument was built.

Narrator: As we learned in the previous tutorial, failure to cite information that is not common knowledge is an act of plagiarism and is academically unsound.

Narrator: Now that we know WHY we need to cite our sources, let’s delve a bit deeper into WHAT needs to be cited. We touched briefly on this content in the last tutorial; however, it is essential that you cite all of the following:

  • Direct quotes—including entire sentences or partial phrases
  • Paraphrases or summarized material
  • Words that or terms that are unique to the author’s research, theories, or ideas
  • Use of an author’s argument or process of thinking
  • Historical, statistical, or scientific facts that are not common knowledge
  • Graphs, drawings, or other visual displays of data
  • Photographs or other visual images
  • Studies or articles that you reference within your work

Narrator: As we discovered in the previous tutorial, there are some pieces of information that you do not need to cite including:

  • Popular sayings or proverbs such as, ‘a stich in time saves nine.’
  • Well known quotations like, ‘I hear and I forget. I see and I remember. I do and I understand.’
  • Common knowledge including, ‘Thomas Edison invented the first electric light bulb. AND Jupiter is the fifth planet from the Sun.’

Narrator: Citations take place both IN the work itself and at the end. When you cite a source within your work, it is called parenthetical OR in-text citation since you are placing your citation within parenthesis within the actual text. Different forms of citation styles dictate different rules; however, let’s take a look at this example that is formatted in MLA style [insert example]. How you use the information you are citing will dictate where your parenthetical citation will be placed. Don’t worry! Each citation style has manuals available for reference—we will get to those later.

Narrator: An alternative to in-text citation is the use of footnotes. Unlike parenthetical citation, footnotes provide the source of information at the bottom of the page. The Chicago citation format—commonly used in historical research—is demonstrated here.

Narrator: You also need to provide a full citation at the end of your work, as well. These pages serve a dual purpose—to give full credit to the author or authors of work you referenced AND to offer fellow researches a ‘breadcrumb trail’ to follow if they wish to go back and look further at one of the sources.

Narrator: This sample bibliographic citation is in MLA style; however, you can see that the author’s name is listed, the date of publication is included, the title of the book or journal is noted, and the publisher and city of publication is specified. As with parenthetical citations, the format will change depending on the type of citation style you use. Let’s take a closer look…

Narrator: A common question we hear is ‘why are there so many different citation styles?’ Different styles of citations have developed to address the unique needs of different disciplines. It is always important to check with your professor to see which style he or she requires. As you move forth in your selected major, you will become much more familiar with that field of study’s preferred style. Let’s take a brief look at some of the most common citation styles…

Narrator: Modern Language Association or MLA style is used primarily in the humanities since it is well-suited for literature and archival sources.

Narrator: American Psychological Association or APA style is used in the social sciences since it is constructed well for quantitative studies and analysis.

Narrator: Chicago Manual of Style or simply Chicago is a style that is also used in the humanities and uses a system of footnote and endnote citations.

Narrator: While these are a sampling of citation styles, they are certainly not the only ones. Once again, be sure to check with your professor for his or her preferred style. As your research skills increase, your proficiency with citing sources will increase; however, with the abundance of information sources including journal articles, books, media, and even lectures, it is essential that you keep a copy of the required style manual nearby.

Narrator: You may choose to purchase a copy or use one of the reference guides available in JMU’s libraries. These are located with the reference materials and can be used while you are in the library.

Narrator: Another resource at your fingertips is found right within the libraries’ webpage. CheckCite allows you to pick the type of end product where your citations will appear, select the style in which you wish to cite, and choose the source type. After you make your selections and click ‘Go,’…

Narrator: …you will be taken to a screen similar to the one shown above where you can scroll through the results to see how you should cite your selected source.

Narrator: The JMU University Writing Center is another excellent resource for help with citation formatting.
[TEXT ‘What’s Next?’]

Narrator: Coming up next, we will be examining the topic of ‘fair use.’ Please make sure to view the next tutorial.
[ZOOM to image of librarians and ‘Ask the Library’ link circled in red]

Narrator: This tutorial should have provided you with information about citing sources. Do you still have questions? Feel free to use the Ask the Library [ZOOM to image of librarians and ‘Ask the Library’ link circled in red] link on the library homepage to connect with a librarian. We are here to help.

End of Ethical and Legal Use of Information (Part 3): Citation Video Transcript

Ethical and Legal Use of Information (Part 4): Fair Use Video

In this tutorial, explore the topic of fair use and how it pertains to you as a student. This tutorial was a collaborative effort.

Ethical and Legal Use of Information (Part 4): Fair Use Video Transcript

[IMAGE of tools in the Madison Research Essentials Toolkit]

Narrator: Welcome back to the Madison Research Essentials Toolkit.

[IMAGE of the Information Literacy learning objectives, focusing on the sixth competency]

Narrator: In this tutorial, [ZOOM TO TEXT] we will build upon our understanding of the importance of ethical and legal use of information by examining the topic of fair use.

[IMAGE of Muhammad Ali]

Narrator: Consider the following case. In the mid-90s, the makers of a movie biography of Muhammad Ali, who is considered to be one of the greatest heavyweight boxers, used a 41 second clip from a boxing match featuring Ali. The footage was owned by another company and the biography producers were taken to court since they failed to ask permission to use the clip. The verdict was that use of the clip was permissible under the guidelines of fair use since only a small portion appeared and the purpose of the biography was informational.

[IMAGE of the main characters from the Harry Potter film sitting at a table]

Narrator: Now, think about the following involving the Harry Potter franchise. An independent author created a Harry Potter encyclopedia and claimed that doing so was fair use since it only compiled the author J.K. Rowling’s original terms and lexicons and put it in one book. The encyclopedia was deemed to NOT be fair use since larger portions of Rowling’s text was taken—verbatim—from her books.

[TEXT of the word Copyright with a listing of the works protected underneath including: plays, movies, CD-ROMS, video games, videos, plays, paintings, sheet music, recorded music performances, novels, software code, sculptures, photographs, choreography, and architectural designs]

Narrator: Before we can fully discuss fair use, we must understand what copyright ‘is.’ Title 17 of the United States Code provides copyright protection for works including poetry, movies, CD-ROMs, video games, videos, plays, paintings, sheet music, recorded music performances, novels, software code, sculptures, photographs, choreography and architectural designs.

[IMAGE a woman standing in front of a piece of artwork in a gallery]

Narrator: In order to qualify for copyright protection, a work must be in a fixed, tangible medium of expression. In other words, the work must exist physically for some period of time—even if it is brief.

[IMAGE of tall buildings mirrored on a smaller scale]

Narrator: Now that we understand what copyright is, let’s take a closer look at the concept of fair use. For the purposes of scholarship, Fair use, loosely defined, is the reproduction of copyrighted material done for a limited and “transformative” purpose, such as to comment upon or critique copyrighted work.

[IMAGE of man reading a pamphlet entitled “Lectures and Classes for Teachers”]

Narrator: Fair use can also extend to the limited use of copyrighted material in teaching, or the creation of original work that includes earlier, copyrighted material, in order to parody that earlier work. Such uses can be done without permission from the copyright owner.

[IMAGE of a butterfly emerging from a cocoon]

Narrator: In order for us to further understand, let’s discuss what “transformative” use is. Many millions of dollars in legal fees have been spent as lawyers, courts, and content owners have attempted to define what constitutes “transformative” work.

[IMAGE of legal documents in binders]

Narrator: Title 17 does not provide a narrow definition of fair use because the legislators who created the fair use exception in the Copyright Act of 1976 did not choose to strictly limit the definition. Very much like the idea of ‘free speech,’ these lawmakers wanted to leave open the possibility for interpretation of meaning.

[IMAGE of recording studio mixing equipment]

Narrator: In 1994 the United States Supreme Court handed down a judgment that helps us better understand the meaning of the term “transformative” in the context of fair use. The case concerned the rap group “2 Live Crew,” which released a record using some lines from an existing song called “Pretty Woman.” A company named NOLO, which specializes in publishing legal guides, provides the following analysis in light of the 2 Live Crew decision:

[TEXT of the word Transformative with two arrows—each pointing to one of the following: ‘Has the material you have taken from the original work been transformed by adding NEW expression and meaning?’ AND ‘Was value added to the original by creating new information, new aesthetics, new insights, and understanding?’]

[TEXT of the words Fair Use with two arrows—each pointing to one of the following: ‘Comments & Criticism’ AND ‘Parody’]

Narrator: With this in mind, we can now explore two categories of fair use: commentary and criticism OR parody.

[IMAGE of man writing in a notebook]

Narrator: Let’s explore the first category—commentary and criticism. Consider that you are a reporter for JMU’s student-run newspaper The Breeze and that you are reviewing a new book. According to fair use, you are allowed to quote a few lines from the book in your review. The rationale is that the greater public would benefit from your review…and that your review is supported by the inclusion of some of the copyrighted material.

[IMAGE of up-close of a person singing into a microphone]

Narrator: The second category applies to fair use in parodies. A parody, by definition, is a work that ridicules or makes fun of another work by using comedy. One of the most popular parody artists is the singer Weird Al Yankovic. Yankovic playfully parodied work from such bands and singers as Aerosmith, The Beatles, Michael Jackson, The Rolling Stones, and U2. Since parodies require significant ‘taking’ from the original work, judges have allowed for extensive use of the original work.

[TEXT of the words Fair Use Factors with the following statements listed underneath: ‘The purpose and character of your use,’ ‘The nature of the copyrighted work,’ ‘The amount and sustainability of the portion taken,’ ‘The effect of the use upon the potential market’]

Narrator: There are four key factors that must be considered when trying to determine whether or not something is considered fair use:

  • The purpose and character of your use
  • The nature of the copyrighted work
  • The amount and sustainability of the portion taken
  • The effect of the use upon the potential market

[IMAGE of a classroom]

Narrator: We’ll briefly explore each of these beginning with “the purpose and character of your use.” Non-profit, educational purpose use of copyrighted material is generally favored over commercial use. The fair use statute even breaks down acceptable activities—all of which are components of education including: criticism; comment; news reporting; teaching; scholarship; or research. Be careful, however, just because you are in an educational setting, you are not immune to fair use restrictions. Your use must meet the requirements of each of the four key factors.

[IMAGE of sculpture with a covering over half of the face]

Narrator: Favor is also given to transformative work—or work that is not just a reproduction of something already existing. Examples of this would include integrating a famous quote into a paper, or using portions of a song for comment, criticism, or further exploration of a topic.

[IMAGE of an up-close view of a hand writing in a journal]

Narrator: Another factor is the nature of the copyrighted work. Let’s consider the difference between quoting portions of an author’s written work and quoting parts of an unpublished manuscript or letter. The courts reason that the copyright owners should have the right to determine the circumstances of first publication; therefore, while it might be acceptable to quote limited parts of a written work, it is often more difficult to apply the doctrine of fair use to the reproduction of unpublished material.

[IMAGE of a stack of fiction books]

Narrator: In addition, copyright protection is often granted more broadly to nonfictional as opposed to fictional works as fiction is deemed ‘creative work,’ and—by nature—more closely protected. The same applies to art, music, poetry, films, and other creative works. This does not mean that you are unable to use these resources in your own, original work; however, they are more closely protected; therefore, it is essential that you know whether or not you are in compliance with the following factor…

[IMAGE of a set of measuring cups]

Narrator: The amount and sustainability of the portion taken is critical. Once again, the legal system does not specify an exact limit on what is “too much;” however a good guiding principle tends to be—the less you use, the better chance you will be in compliance of fair use. Another key element to examine is whether or not you are taking the “heart of the work.”

[IMAGE of the Titanic sinking from the movie Titanic]

Narrator: Let’s consider the following example. You wish to use a clip of the dramatic scene in Titanic where the ship is ‘transformed’ underwater from a decaying wreck to the beautiful ship she once was. Although the clip might be brief, you are using a portion that encompasses one of the most creative scenes in the movie and would not constitute fair use.

[IMAGE of newspapers]

Narrator: Another example might be quoting a portion of a journalist’s article that includes the “journalistic scoop.” Once again, this would not be fair use.

[IMAGE of a large and a small dog]

Narrator: Art and photographs are often controversial as a user needs the full image. Courts have ruled that users can use a thumbnail or low-resolution image since those would constitute a smaller, ‘lesser amount.’

[IMAGE of a stack of $100 bills]

Narrator: The final factor is the effect of the use on the potential market for or value of the work. Money and income become a big issue with this consideration.

[IMAGE of person carving a piece of wood]

Narrator: In the court case, Rogers vs Koons, an artist used a copyrighted photograph without permission as a basis for making wood sculptures. The artist subsequently earned several hundred thousand dollars selling the sculptures. The photographer sued and the court agreed that the artist violated fair use. It did not matter whether or not the photographer would ever make a sculpture himself; the image was his and the artist used it without permission.

[TEXT of the words Fair Use Factors with the following statements listed underneath: ‘The purpose and character of your use,’ ‘The nature of the copyrighted work,’ ‘The amount and sustainability of the portion taken,’ ‘The effect of the use upon the potential market’]

Narrator: Once again, determining fair use requires that all of these factors be carefully considered. As a scholar, it is your responsibility to understand that—while there is some educational purpose protection—fair use is a very real issue.

[IMAGE of the library homepage with the Ask the Library portion circled in red]

Narrator: This tutorial should have provided you with information about fair use. Do you still have questions? Feel free to use the Ask the Library link [ZOOM to image of librarians and ‘Ask the Library’ link circled in red]on the library homepage to connect with a librarian. We are here to help.

[IMAGE of the exterior of the Assessment & Testing Center in the basement of Ashby Residence Hall with the TEXT underneath: ‘The Assessment & Testing Center is located in the basement of the Ashby Residence Hall on the Quad. The entrance can be found at ground level to the right of the main steps.]

Narrator: Now that you have completed the MRE Toolkit tutorials, it is important that you take the MREST. The MREST is a proctored test and must be taken in the Assessment and Testing Center located in the basement of Ashby Residence Hall on the Quad. The test is administered during lab hours.

[IMAGE of the library homepage with the Madison Research Essentials Toolkit portion circled in red]

Narrator: Even after you have taken the MREST, please feel free to come back often to review the material found within the Madison Research Essentials Toolkit. [ZOOM to the ‘Madison Research Essentials Toolkit’ circled in red]

End of Ethical and Legal Use of Information (Part 4): Fair Use Video Transcript