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Fair Use

Understand and determine fair use for your teaching and publishing

Fair Use Guidelines

—Fair use is a legal doctrine that promotes freedom of expression by permitting the unlicensed use of copyright-protected works in certain circumstances.

The fair use of a copyrighted work for purposes such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching (including multiple copies for classroom use), scholarship, or research, is not an infringement of copyright.

- See Section 107 of the Copyright Act 


Four Factors are considered in determining whether the use made of a work in any particular case is a fair use.

  • Purpose and Character of the Use
  • Nature of the Copyrighted Work
  • Amount or Substantiality of the Portion Used
  • Effect of the Use on the Potential Market for or Value of the Work

The following "four factors" are used to analyze a fair use:

Factor 1: The Purpose and Character of the Use
Factor 2: The Nature of the Copyrighted Work
Factor 3: The Amount or Substantiality of the Portion Used
Factor 4: The Effect of the Use on the Potential Market for or Value of the Work

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Fair Use Fundamentals