According to Merriam-Webster's Online Dictionary, copyright is:
the exclusive legal right to reproduce, publish, sell, or distribute the matter and form of something (as a literary, musical, or artistic work)
Copyright. (n.d.). In Merriam-Webster Online. Retrieved March 13, 2017 from https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/copyright
According to Merriam-Webster's Online Dictionary, fair use is:
a legal doctrine that portions of copyrighted materials may be used without permission of the copyright owner provided the use is fair and reasonable, does not substantially impair the value of the materials, and does not curtail the profits reasonably expected by the owner
Fair use. (n.d.). In Merriam-Webster Online. Retrieved March 13, 2017 from https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/fair%20use
According to the U.S. Copyright Office, Circular 92, Chapter 1, § 107:
Notwithstanding the provisions of sections 106 and 106A, the fair use of a copyrighted work, including such use by reproduction in copies or phonorecords or by any other means specified by that section, for purposes such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching (including multiple copies for classroom use), scholarship, or research, is not an infringement of copyright. In determining whether the use made of a work in any particular case is a fair use the factors to be considered shall include—
(1) the purpose and character of the use, including whether such use is of a commercial nature or is for nonprofit educational purposes;
(2) the nature of the copyrighted work;
(3) the amount and substantiality of the portion used in relation to the copyrighted work as a whole; and
(4) the effect of the use upon the potential market for or value of the copyrighted work.
The fact that a work is unpublished shall not itself bar a finding of fair use if such finding is made upon consideration of all the above factors.
Always remember to properly credit and cite copyrighted works (see the Citing Sources guide for more information). When in doubt, research the item to determine copyright information.
These copyright and fair use sites provide more in-depth information, some of which is specialized for particular types of media or uses.
From Stanford Law School's Center for Internet and Society: A Fair(y) Use Tale
"Professor Eric Faden of Bucknell University created this humorous, yet informative, review of copyright principles delivered through the words of the very folks we can thank for nearly endless copyright terms."
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 License.
Creative Commons is an alternative to traditional copyright. As their site states, they "help you legally share your knowledge and creativity to build a more equitable, accessible, and innovative world. [They] unlock the full potential of the internet to drive a new era of development, growth and productivity."
Licenses: Creative Commons provides different types of licenses. All licenses require attribution (crediting the original source), along with options regarding derivatives, commerciality of the work(s), and whether or not future licenses should continue the same terms. Read more details here. Or, if you already have a work you want to license, go to the "Choose a License" page to create the license for your work.
Also, many CC-licensed works will be easier to incorporate into media projects for class. However, remember to double-check the terms for the licenses. A "NoDerivs" license won't work as your media project would change the original work (i.e., be a derivative). Here's a helpful FAQ for determining which licenses will allow you to create derivative works.
Here are some sources to get you started finding Creative Commons licensed media:
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.