I. Fair Use Defined
“Fair Use” refers to the legal right of individuals to use copyrighted materials for certain purposes without infringing on the copyright protections associated with those items. Section 107 of the U.S. Copyright Act outlines four factors that must be considered when determining whether or not a specific use of a work is protected under Fair Use. Below is the actual text of Section 107 that lists these factors:
"In determining whether the use made of a work in any particular case is a fair use the factors to be considered shall include —
(1) the purpose and character of the use, including whether such use is of a 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; and
(4) the effect of the use upon the potential market for or value of the copyrighted work.
The fact that a work is unpublished shall not itself bar a finding of fair use if such finding is made upon consideration of all the above factors."
II. Fair Use Worksheet
There is a great deal of information available on what qualifies as Fair Use and what does not. In order to determine if your particular use is likely to be covered under Fair Use, the following checklist, prepared by the Copyright Management Center at Indiana University and reproduced here with their permission, may be helpful.
III. Still Not Sure if It’s Fair Use?
If you complete the checklist and are still not clear on whether or not your specific use can be considered Fair Use, then please contact the University of Alaska’s Intellectual Property and Licensing Department for assistance:
Intellectual Property and Licensing for the University of Alaska
University of Alaska Fairbanks
PO Box 757560
Fairbanks, AK 99775-7560
IV. Fair Use Guidelines for Students
Most students understand that works such as books, magazines, movies, and newspapers are copyright-protected. Most students don't understand, however, that the majority of works found on the Internet--works such as web-based images, graphics, articles, videos, sound files, games, and logos--are also copyright-protected. As a UA student, you have certain legal rights under Fair Use to use copy-right protected works for classroom purposes without obtaining prior permission. The legal rights of Fair Use are fairly narrow, however, and do not grant students permission to use copy-written works in many circumstances. The following tip sheet is designed to help you determine when and where Fair Use might apply to your situation.
V. Fair Use Online Resources
For more information on Fair Use and other copyright issues affecting the use of copyrighted materials, see the following web sites.
- Indiana University Copyright Management CenterDescribes the “basics” of copyright law, has a section on Fair Use issues, a step-by-step guide on how to obtain permissions, and more.
- University of Texas Crash Course in CopyrightDiscusses liability, and features UT’s “Rules of Thumb” for copyright compliance for coursepacks, distance learning, images, multimedia, and music, research copies, and Reserves.
- University of North Carolina – Fair Use WorksheetFeatures another checklist to be used to assist in determining Fair Use for specific purposes.
- Stanford University Libraries – Copyright and Fair Use
A comprehensive site for Fair Use, featuring links to actual law text, other good sites on copyright and Fair Use, recent articles on Fair Use issues, and commentaries by individuals in the law and library professions.
- Center for Social Media – Code of Best Practices in Fair Use for Online VideoProvides a guide for Best Practices in creating and using video for online use in the context of Fair Use.”