THE RESEARCH PROCESS: Guidelines for Multimedia and Web Page Production
Information on this page was originally published on the Springfield (Pa.) Township High School Virtual Library Web site. Reproduced with permission.
Technology has dramatically changed the manner in which people share ideas and information. Students now have unprecedented access to information, in all its forms--text, images, sound, and video. This new access, combined with the new ease with which people can publish electronically, has added to the complexity of copyright issues.

At Redwood High School we are concerned about teaching our students to behave responsibly in an electronic environment. We expect students to respect the integrity of intellectual property.

The following are guidelines to aid you in creating research products using technology. They summarize and quote from the Fair Use Guidelines for Multimedia - - produced by the Consortium of College and University Media Centers in 1996. For more information about proper citation format, check our Bibliographic Format Page.

Educators are encouraged to read the full document for guidelines affecting instructional use of multimedia. Teachers should be cautious about copyright when showing videos to classes. Videos in our library have been purchased with public performance rights. 

Multimedia Projects Publishing on the Web Copyright Links

Multimedia Projects (using presentation software)

In creating academic multimedia products, students may use the “lawfully acquired copyrighted” works of others with proper credit and citations. They may perform and display their own educational multimedia projects in the course for which they were created. They may also retain them as examples of their academic work for later personal uses such as job and college interviews.

The rule of thumb for multimedia projects is to “be conservative.” Use only small amounts of the works of others. Do not make any unnecessary copies--no more than two “use copies” and one additional back-up copy. (If a group created the project, each major contributor may make his or her own copy but only for the purpose for which the project was originally created.)

Crediting Sources

Students should include a note on the opening screen of their project stating that some materials in the presentation are included in accordance with the Multimedia Fair Use Guidelines and are restricted from further use.

Students should credit all sources of copyrighted information with full bibliographic citations, including author, title, publisher, and place and date of publication, URL, etc. This bibliographic information may be combined and shown in a separate section of the project, for instance, a works cited card or slide. (There are exceptions for images when used for distance learning.) If the copyright notice © and copyright ownership information is shown in the original source, students must show it in their credits.

If there is a possibility that students will later use their multimedia project in another way, for example dissemination on the Web, they should take steps to obtain permissions for all copyrighted portions while the project is being developed rather than waiting until the project is completed.

Portions Used

There are very specific guidelines limiting the portions of copyrighted works students are allowed to use in a multimedia project. Portion use varies according to information format:


Music or Lyrics Illustrations Motion Media Internet (use in multimedia projects)

Care should be used in downloading material from Internet sites for use in multimedia presentations. Students should be aware that some copyrighted works have been posted to the Internet without authorization of the copyright holder.

Integrity of the copyrighted work: alterations

Educators and students may make alterations in the portions of the copyrighted works used in an academic multimedia project only if the alterations support specific instructional objectives. All alterations must be noted.

Permission is required:

Publishing on the Web

The Fair Use Guidelines do not extend to Web publishing. They end when the creator of the multimedia project loses control of his product's use, such as when it is accessed by others over the Internet. Students may choose to search for images in databases that are within the public domain. A list of such sites is located here. Students should take steps to obtain permission for all copyrighted portions of a Web product, unless it is very clearly noted that these materials are in the public domain and available for free use. Requests for permission should begin while the project is being developed.

Here's a template of a letter you might mail or e-mail requesting permission to use copyrighted work.

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Created by Webspinner: June 1, 2001.
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