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Copyright: Fair Use

A guide for students and instructors. This guide is not intended to be legal advice. It was not created by lawyers. It is designed to provide general information about copyright and intellectual property.

Fair Use

Section 107 of the Copyright ActFair Use logo provides the statutory framework for determining whether something is classified as Fair Use

Fair use is an important part of U.S. copyright law as it provides a means of balancing users’ needs against the exclusive rights of copyright holders. Fair use is not a straightforward concept, rather, any fair use analysis must be conducted on a case by case basis, considering factors and the individual circumstances at hand; it does not guarantee against a claim of copyright infringement.

The Four Factors Determining Fair Use:

1. The purpose and character of the use, including whether the use is of a commercial nature or is for nonprofit educational purposes;
2. The nature of the copyrighted work used;
3 .The amount and substantiality of the portion used in relation to the copyrighted work as a whole;
4 .The effect of the use upon the potential market for or value of the copyrighted work.

Resources to help determine Fair Use:

Fair Use Evaluator

Fair Use Evaluator offers step-by-step guidance to determine the "fairness" of a use under the U.S. Copyright Code; collect, organize & archive the information you might need to support a fair use evaluation; and provide access to educational materials, external copyright resources, and contact information for copyright help at local & national levels.