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Fair Use Q&A

Posted By Patricia Aufderheide, American U, Monday, October 2, 2017
Updated: Monday, October 2, 2017

Dear ICA,

For my journalism class, I have to do a research paper on a journalist’s career. I picked a photo-journalist. How much is OK to quote from that person’s work? Can I show the cover of a magazine where her work was used? Can I embed a clip from news reportage that featured her work? The professor said to check with the International Communication Association.

Thanks, Diligent

Dear Diligent,

I think your professor was thinking about ICA’s Code of Best Practices in Fair Use for Scholarly Research in Communica- tion. It contains four principles that your peers determined fair in your eld. Look especially at Section One, “Analysis, Criticism, and Commentary of Copyrighted Material” and Section Two, “Quoting Copyrighted Material For Illustration.” But rst read the entire Code, so that you understand the basic logic of fair use. Note that there aren’t any xed rules or numbers. If the cover of a magazine is relevant to your argument, it’s as much covered by fair use logic as anything inside. News reportage is the same. Your choice will be grounded in your analytic purpose (pick the material based on what you want to explain, and use what you need to make your point). Of course, you should appropriate cite the material, but you knew to do that anyway.

Thanks, Patricia Aufderheide for ICA

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Tags:  October 2017 

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