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Copyright Resources

A primer on copyright and fair use.

Other Tools to Evaluate Fair Use

What is Fair Use?

Section 107 of the United States Copyright Act lists four factors to help judges determine, and therefore to help you predict, when content usage may be considered "fair use."

  1. The purpose and character of the use, including whether such use is of a commercial nature or is for nonprofit, educational purposes and whether the use is transformative, that is the use is for a new audience or a new purpose.
     
  2. The nature of the copyrighted work. Use of a purely factual work is more likely to be considered fair use than use of someone's creative work.
     
  3. The amount and substantiality of the portion used in relation to the copyright protected work as a whole.There are no set page counts or percentages that define the boundaries of fair use. Use of an entire work can be fair use if it is necessary to carry out a very transformational purpose that has no effect upon the market for the original.
     
  4. The effect of the use on the potential market for or value of the copyright protected work. This factor looks at whether the nature of the use competes with or diminishes the potential market for the form of use that the copyright holder is already employing.

Fair Use Guidelines

Courts have regarded the following activities as fair use:  (Source:  1961 Report of the Register of Copyrights on the General Revision of the U.S. Copyright Law)

  • Quotation of excerpts in a review or criticism for purposes of illustration or comment
  • Quotation of short passages in a scholarly or technical work, for illustration or clarification of the author's observations
  • Use in a parody of some of the content of the work parodied
  • Summary of an address or article, with brief quotations, in a news report
  • Reproduction by a library of a portion of a work to replace part of a damaged copy
  • Reproduction by a teacher or student of a small part of a work to illustrate a lesson
  • Reproduction of a work in legislative or judicial proceedings or reports
  • Incidental and fortuitous reproduction, in a newsreel or broadcast, of a work located in the scene of an event being reported

Subject Guide

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Devin Soper
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Scholars Commons Suite, Strozier Library
850-645-2600
Website Skype Contact: devin.soper.fsu

License

 Creative Commons License

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License. Sections of this guide are adapted from UF Libraries.

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