Ask the expert: Fair use and copyright in staff development

Nurse Leader Insider, August 10, 2012

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This week, Adrianne E. Avillion, D.Ed, RN, explains fair use and provides instances in which copyrighted work can be used for staff development.

Q. What is fair use and what are some examples of fair use as it applies to staff development?

A.Fair use is the allowable use of limited amounts of a copyrighted work for the purpose of criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching, scholarship, or research without getting permission from the copyright holder. Many staff development professionals are unsure whether their educational work fits under the fair use guidelines or not.

 Fair use in staff development works can include:

  • Commentary: Providing opinions about parts of the copyrighted work while including small parts of the original work. For example, including material copied from The Joint Commission standards that affect staff development and then making comments about the copied excerpts.
  • Parody that incorporates some elements (but not all) of the work being parodied. For example, poking fun at The Joint Commission’s staff development standards while including original excerpts of the standards in your parody.
  • News reporting. For example, copying parts of the new U. S. healthcare law into a course that explains the changes caused by the new law and how they will affect your organization.
  • Research and scholarship. For example, quoting a brief excerpt of a copyrighted article to clarify or comment about the original author’s work.
  • Quotations from a speech, address, or position paper in a news report or scholarly article: For example, adding a short excerpt or quote from a copyrighted source to an organization’s or department’s newsletter.
  • Nonprofit educational uses: Staff development educators and instructors can copy limited portions of copyrighted works for classroom use.
  • Chance reproduction: Creating sentences and word combinations that accidentally match an existing work.
  • Limited copying made by a student for academic work: For example, a nurse making one copy of a copyrighted article for personal study.
To read more expert advice, click here.

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