The Conference on Fair Use (CONFU) attempted to establish guidelines to clarify the application of fair use of copyrighted works in the digital educational environment. Despite 2 1/2 years of negotiation, these guidelines were never formally adopted.
While only the court can authoritatively determine fair use, many educators use these guidelines as a starting place because the guidelines represent the CONFU participants' consensus of conditions under which fair use should generally apply. However, the guidelines have no force of law behind them.
Based on CONFU guidelines, educators and students do not need to get copyright permissions if they make a good faith effort to adhere to these suggested limits which should generally be considered minimum limits and fair use provisions may allow greater amounts of a particular work to be used than suggested by the guidelines below:
- Motion Media: Up to 10% or 3 minutes, whichever is less, in the aggregate of a copyrighted motion media work may be reproduced or otherwise incorporated as part of a multimedia project created under Section 2 of these guidelines.
- Text Material: Up to 10% or 1000 words, whichever is less, in the aggregate of a copyrighted work consisting of text material may be reproduced or otherwise incorporated as part of a multimedia project created under Section 2 of these guidelines. An entire poem of less than 250 words may be used, but no more than three poems by one poet, or five poems by different poets from any anthology may be used. For poems of greater length, 250 words may be used but no more than three excerpts by a poet, or five excerpts by different poets from a single anthology may be used.
- Music, Lyrics, and Music Video: Up to 10%, but in no event more than 30 seconds, of the music and lyrics from an individual musical work (or in the aggregate of extracts from an individual work), whether the musical work is embodied in copies, or audio or audiovisual works, may be reproduced or otherwise incorporated as a part of a multimedia project created under Section 2. Any alterations to a musical work shall not change the basic melody or the fundamental character of the work.
- Illustrations and Photographs: The reproduction or incorporation of photographs and illustrations is more difficult to define with regard to fair use because fair use usually precludes the use of an entire work. Under these guidelines a photograph or illustration may be used in its entirety but no more than 5 images by an artist or photographer may be reproduced or otherwise incorporated as part of an educational multimedia project. When using photographs and illustrations from a published collective work, not more than 10% or 15 images, whichever is less, may be reproduced or otherwise incorporated as part of an educational multimedia project.
- Numerical Data Sets: Up to 10% or 2500 fields or cell entries, whichever is less, from a copyrighted database or data table may be reproduced or otherwise incorporated as part of a educational multimedia project.