Skip to main content

Copyright: Fair Use

A brief guide to sources regarding copyright guidelines.

Fair Use Criteria

The Fair Use Doctrine is outlined in Title 17, Chapter 1, Sections 107 and 108 of the U.S. Code. It is important to note that just because a copy is made for an educational purpose does not necessarily mean that it falls under Fair Use. There are four factors that must be weighed to determine if a copy may be made without obtaining permission:

1) The purpose and character of the use, including whether such use is of a commercial nature or is for a nonprofit educational purpose;

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.

Misc Fair Use Resources

ALA Checklist for Conducting a Fair Use Analysis

The American Library Association (among many others) has prepared a worksheet that can be used to help apply the Fair Use Doctrine.

Stanford University Libraries' Copyright & Fair Use Page

This is a comprehensive site covering many copyright-related issues including a section about fair use.