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Fair Use

One of the limitations on copyright is the “Fair Use” doctrine, which can be found in section 107 of the copyright law. This broad and flexible doctrine provides instances for when using copyrighted material may be deemed fair. Each of the four factors must be weighed in determining if fair use applies:

  1. The purpose and character of the use, including whether such use is of commercial nature or is for nonprofit educational purposes
  2. The nature of the copyrighted work
  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.

Another important consideration is if your use may be transformative. In other words, is your use of the work substantially different from the original intention of the work?

Fair Use Checklists

There are many Fair Use checklists developed that have been developed by U.S. universities. These may be useful in helping you determine whether your intended use of a work is fair. 

Fair Use for Students