Fair Use Edit

Fair Use is covered under Section 107 of the Copyright Act. This provision provides for uses, including criticism, scholarship and research, teaching, news reporting, and commenting, of copyright protected works. There are four guidelines (listed below) that judges use when making decisions regarding infringement claims, and each dispute is handled on a case-by-case basis. There is no guarantee that a certain use of a work will be covered by the Fair Use provision, and there is no substitute for legal advice; however, there are tools to help users evaluate their usage and the copyright office has an index of past court cases to help users determine if Fair Use may apply in their situation.[1]

Fair Use Criteria

  • Your purpose and intent
    • Has the borrowed work been used to supplement and add to your own ideas or is the borrowed work being used as the core of your project?
  • The nature of the copyrighted work
    • If the work you borrow from is factual, it is more likely to fall under fair use. Also, you are better off using published works than unpublished works.
  • The amount of the work used
    • The use of small portions of copyrighted work are more likely to be excused as fair use.
  • The effect upon the market
    • If you plan on making money off your project, it is much less likely that your use of copyrighted materials falls under fair use.

- See more at:

Other Resources Edit

U.S. Copyright Office Fair Use Index Edit

This index is a compilation of court cases regarding Fair Use. Cases can be narrowed down by jurisdiction and by category (such as Music, Film/Audiovisual, Textual work, etc.).

Fair Use Evaluator Edit

This is a tool created by the ALA (American Library Association) which assists with gathering information to defend a Fair Use claim by organizing and archiving information, as well as your judgement on the use.

Reproduction of Copyrighted Works by Educators and Librarians Edit

This circular published by the U.S. Copyright Office was designed to assist educators, librarians and archivists better understand the legislative provisions that regulate reproducing materials covered by copyright law.