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Tips for using sound recordings in online education

To best position yourself to assert a fair use argument when using sound recordings, consider doing the following:

  • Link to the sound recording if possible rather than making an electronic copy available to students. Linking to materials is ordinarily not a violation of copyright but rather a technological instruction for locating materials.
  • If copying a sound recording, do not use any more of the recording than the amount needed to serve your purpose.
  • Avoid copying sound recordings from materials created and marketed primarily for use in courses such as the one at hand (e.g. from a textbook, workbook, or other instructional materials designed for the course). Use of more than a brief excerpt from such works on digital networks is unlikely to be transformative and therefore unlikely to be a fair use.
  • Make sure that the sound recording serves a pedagological purpose; do not use as entertainment.
  • Place the sound recording in the context of the course, explaining why it was chosen and what it was intended to illustrate. Recontextualize the sound recording when appropriate through the addition of background readings, study questions, commentary, criticism, annotation, and student reactions.
  • Limit access to the sound recording to students enrolled in the course.
  • Use streaming or other technologies that limit students' ability to download, copy, or redistribute the material.
  • Notify students that sound recordings are being made available for teaching, study, and research only.
  • Provide attributions to known copyright owners of the sound recordings.

Resources for using sound recordings in online education