Released in January 2012, the ARL's Code of Best Practices of Fair Use in Academic Libraries identifies the relevance of fair use in eight recurrent situations for librarians:
Click here for the ARL Webcast announcing the release of the Code
FAQ on the Code for Librarians
How do I know if a work is in the Public Domain?
Calculating the expiration of an item's copyright protection can be tricky. Several factors must be considered including the date of publication, whether the registration requirement (if in effect) was complied with, and the mortality of the author. Cornell University maintains a very handy chart to aid in the determination of copyright status.
Can I stream this video to my online class?
There are many great alternatives to digitizing a library or personally owned copy of a DVD. Advocate the use of licensed streaming video resources such as those by Alexander Street Press, suggest students in the course have a Netflix account (there are thousands of documentary, foreign language, and classic films available for streaming and rental), or research whether the film is already available online through a legal source (e.g. PBS streams many of its programs free online).
For more information on showing films in class, please see http://guides.uflib.ufl.edu/copyright/video.
Can I incorporate this media clip into the presentation I'm giving at a conference?
Fair Use applies to the incorporation of media into presentations at an educational or research event.
As long as I'm using this material to teach my class it's Fair Use, right?
A very common misconception among faculty is that so long as the use is educational, it is fair use. However, there is no blanket exception to the Copyright Act for educational use. Rather, the fact that the use is for educational purposes weighs the balance of the first factor in favor of fair use. The other three factors must still be evaluated before making a determination that fair use applies.
See http://guides.uflib.ufl.edu/copyright/fairuse for more information.
Can I post this journal article from XYZ Database in my course site for my students to read?
Most database license agreements address the use of content contained in the database and such a use may be prohibited. Whenever possible, it is the preferred practice to provide a persistent link to an article found in a database rather than pulling a PDF copy out of the database for posting elsewhere. Faculty teaching online may wish to post materials to their course site. They may still utilize the e-reserves service, however, and they should be advised not to post copies of materials in contravention to e-resource licenses.
I can make as many copies of this article I wrote as I want, correct?
Faculty often don't realize that they may have signed away their own copyrights when entering into a publication agreement for their scholarly articles. Unless they have published in an open access journal or negotiated a publication agreement that allowed them to retain certain rights, they may very well have no copyright in the article whatsoever and would have to utilize fair use or pay royalty fees to use their own work. If such a question arises, this would be an excellent opening to discuss open access.
Librarians should utilize Creative Commons licensing for their own work and advocate its use by those in academia. Such licensing allows the creator to clearly communicate to others how their work may be used. Also, through the Creative Commons website, you can also locate permission-free music and images that can be used by faculty and students.