As copyright law does not specifically address many new situations, fair use - in its flexibility and adaptability - is the exception best positioned to support educators and students. Section 107 of the Copyright Act of 1976 states that, “the fair use of a copyrighted work, ... is not an infringement of copyright.” 17 U.S.C. §107.
Begin by asking yourself questions, such as:
Complete a thorough examination of the four factors for each intended use by working through the Fair Use Checklist. A sample checklist can be found in Fair Use Tools & Resources at this page/left.
Compliance and "good faith" are required to protect yourself, your institution, and your students from possible copyright infringement. In order to make fully informed compliance decisions, first determine if a work is copyright protected or restricted by license. A license may cancel out potential fair use rights. If a work is covered by copyright but free of license restrictions, you may seek copyright permissions or explore your fair use rights.
You know your educational purpose better than anyone and are in the best position to determine whether or not your use is fair and in compliance with copyright law.
Copyright protection is automatic, occurring as soon as an original work is fixed in a tangible medium. A work does not need to be registered, published, or have a copyright notice on it to qualify. A safe assumption is that everything you are likely to use is copyright protected, unless it is very old, produced by the U.S. government, or your own work. Content that is born or that falls into the public domain is not protected by copyright and can be used by anyone without permission.
For more on Public domain: https://wiki.creativecommons.org/wiki/Public_domain
For more information on determining copyright, check out the following resources:
Once you have determined that the work you wish to use is copyright protected, consider the following options:
Permission may be necessary when using copyright protected material. If you have determined that the work you want to use is not in the public domain, that your use falls outside the boundaries of fair use, and that permission is required
Creative Commons (CC) licenses offer a way for people to share their work and make it available for reuse. CC content is free to use as long as you follow certain guidelines and credit the author/creator. See, CC best practices for attribution: https://wiki.creativecommons.org/wiki/best_practices_for_attribution
And for more information on copyright and licensing restrictions, visit https://www.copyright.gov/title17/92chap1.html