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Library Services for Faculty

Library Services for the faculty.

Fair Use

Fair use is the legal doctrine that promotes freedom of expression by permitting the unlicensed use of copyright-protected works in certain circumstances. Section 107 of the Copyright Act uses the following four factors in evaluating the question of fair use. 

Factor 1: Purpose and Character of Use

  • Ask yourself: "What do I want to do with the materials I plan to copy?
  • Work used for education, scholarship, research, news, reporting, criticism, or commentary purposes is allowed. 

Factor 2: Nature of the Original Work

  • Has it been published or not? 
    • If it has not been published, there is less likely of a chance of it being considered fair use. 
  • Is the nature of the work more factual or creative? 
    • Generally copyright law does not protect general knowledge (facts and data). 

Factor 3: Amount and Sustainability of the Portion Used 

  • Ask yourself: "How much of the work do you plan to use?"
  • Use the smallest portion as possible. 
  • Quality: The amount of works used is proportional to the length of the work. 
  • Qualitative: Is the portion you want to use considered the "heart " of the work? If it is, it doesn't fall within fair use. 

Factor 4: Marketability of the Work 

  • Is the use of the work affecting a sale the owner or creator would have made otherwise made?