Grade 7

The Four Factors of Fair Use

What rights to fair use do you have as a creator?

Kids can be voracious consumers -- and creators -- of media, and it's easier than ever for them to find and share digital content online. But do middle schoolers know about concepts like fair use, copyright, and public domain? Give students a framework they can use to better understand how fair use works in the real world.

See the U.K. version of this lesson plan

Learning Objectives:
  • Define the terms "copyright," "public domain," and "fair use."
  • Identify the purpose of the Four Factors of Fair Use.
  • Apply fair use to real-world examples, making a case for or against.
Key Vocabulary: copyright  ·  fair use  ·  public domain  ·  sampling
legal protection that creators have over the things they create
fair use:
the ability to use copyrighted work without permission, but only in certain ways and in specific situations
public domain:
creative work that's not copyrighted and free to use without permission
reworking a portion of a song or sound recording into a new composition
News & Media Literacy
This lesson meets standards for Common Core ELACASELAASLand ISTESee standards

Lesson Plan

50 mins.
Extension Activity:

Explain that Creative Commons licenses provide creators with a way for their work to be shared more freely than a traditional copyright license allows, but it still allows creators control over their work. Allow students to view the FAQ section of the Creative Commons website or watch the 90-second explanatory video. Ask students: Would you be interested in putting a Creative Commons license on something you created? If so, which license sounds appealing? 

What You'll Need

Select resources below, then open in English or Spanish. Unlock free resources

Classroom resources

  • Lesson Slides
  • Fair and Square Handout Teacher Version
  • Lesson Quiz

Take-home resources