This section is designed to help you determine at-a-glance the portion amounts generally allowed under fair use for various types of media, along with links to licensed, free and public domain content.

Please note that the Hamilton-licensed content is governed by licenses and contractual agreements that supercede fair use and copyright law.


Portion Limits for Educational Use

  • A photograph or illustration may be used in its entirety but no more than 5 images by an artist or photographer
  • For photographs and illustrations from a published collective work, not more than 10% or 15 images, whichever is less

Licensed content for Hamilton students & faculty

Free Image Resources

Stock Photography

Clipart & Graphics

See also: Finding Image and Multimedia Resources

Film & Video

Portion Limits for Educational Use

  • Up to 10% or 3 minutes, whichever is less, in the aggregate of a copyrighted motion media work

Licensed content for Hamilton students & faculty

  • ITN/Reuters Stock Footage Library
    Collection of news clips from European news agencies.

Free Film & Video Resources

  • Creative Commons
    Find CC-licensed work (audio, video, music) for a creative project.
  • Internet Archive
    Includes texts, audio, moving images, and software as well as archived web pages.
  • Library of Congress Digital Collections
    A growing treasury of digitized photographs, manuscripts, maps, sound recordings, motion pictures, and books.
  • Movieclips
    Legally licensed clips. Browse by actor, title, genre, mood, occasion and theme. 

Music & Audio

Portion Limits for Educational Use

  • Up to 10%, but in no event more than 30 seconds, of the music and lyrics from an individual musical work (or in the aggregate of extracts from an individual work), whether the musical work is embodied in copies, or audio or audiovisual works
  • Any alterations to a musical work shall not change the basic melody or the fundamental character of the work

Licensed content for Hamilton students & faculty

  • Extreme Music Library, Part 1 & Part 2
    Instrumental music, chiefly synthesized, for use in not-for-profit, educational audio, video and film productions.

Free Music Resources


Portion Limits for Educational Use

  • Up to 10% or 1000 words, whichever is less, in the aggregate of a copyrighted work consisting of text material
  • An entire poem of less than 250 words may be used, but no more than three poems by one poet, or five poems by different poets from any anthology may be used
  • For poems of greater length, 250 words may be used but no more than three excerpts by a poet, or five excerpts by different poets from a single anthology may be used.

Library E-Reserves & Photocopying Policy

Under certain conditions specified in the law, libraries and archives are authorized to furnish a photocopy or other reproduction. One of these specified conditions is that the photocopy or other reproduction is not to be "used for any purpose other than private study, scholarship, or research." If a user makes a request for, or later uses, a photocopy or reproduction for purposes in excess of "fair use", that user may be liable for copyright infringement.

Numerical Data Sets

Portion Limits for Educational Use

  • Up to 10% or 2500 fields or cell entries, whichever is less
  • A field entry is defined as a specific item of information, such as a name or Social Security number, in a record of a database file
  • A cell entry is defined as the intersection where a row and a column meet on a spreadsheet

Internet Content

Educators and students are advised to exercise caution in using digital material downloaded from the Internet in producing their own educational multimedia projects, because there is a mix of works protected by copyright and works in the public domain on the network. Access to works on the Internet does not automatically mean that these can be reproduced and reused without permission or royalty payment and, furthermore, some copyrighted works may have been posted to the Internet without authorization of the copyright holder.

  • Always credit the source of your information
  • Find out if the author of a work (e.g., video, audio, image, graphic, icon) provides information on how to use his or her work. If explicit guidelines exist, follow them.
  • Whenever feasible, ask the owner of the copyright for permission.

Recording Public Performances, Film Showings & Off-Air Recording

Recording Public Performances

  • Campus events and department or student productions can be videotaped if certain criteria are met.
  • Lectures or performances presented by guests to the campus will be video recorded if the guest signs a permission form, provided by AV Services, prior to the lecture or performance taking place. Permission must also be obtained from members of the campus community (employees, students, alumni, trustees).
  • According to the rules of NESCAC and other athletic leagues in which Hamilton teams compete, there are no restrictions placed on recording varsity sporting events. A request must come from a member of the coaching staff.

Film Showings

If you wish to schedule a film showing on campus, please consult this information about public performance licensing contained in the Hamilton College Copyright Policy.

Off-Air Recording

Recordings made for classroom use are subject to copyright and licensing laws. For more information, see the Audiovisual Copyright Policy, Programs Recorded Off-Air.

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