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Faculty Resources: Fair Use

Fair Use

Characteristics of Fair Use

Faculty rely on the concept of Fair Use in the classroom. The factors of Fair Use allow faculty to share portions of text, video, music, images and maps with their students without permission from or payment to the copyright holder. Section 107 of the Copyright Act outlines guidelines, which help lawmakers determine is content used outside of permission from the copyright holder falls within Fair Use. Fair Use is typically used in the context of criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching and scholarship.

Let's break down Fair Use:

1. the purpose and character of your use

Favoring Fair Use
Teaching (including multiple copies for classroom use) Research
Scholarship Criticism
Comment Restricted access (to students or other appropriate group)


2. the nature of the copyrighted work 

Favoring Fair Use
Published Work Factual or nonfiction-based
Important to educational objectives  


3. the amount and substantiality of the portion taken

Favoring Fair Use
Small quantity Portion is not central or significant to entire work ("the heart of the work")
Amount is appropriate for educational purposes  


4. the effect of the use upon the potential market.

Favoring Fair Use
User lawfully purchased or acquired the copy of the original work One or few copies made
Copying will not have a significant effect on the market or potential market for the work  

Source: Adapted from Columbia University's Fair Use Checklist. The Fair Use Checklist  is licensed by a Creative Commons Attribution License with attribution to the original creators of the checklist Kenneth D. Crews (formerly of Columbia University) and Dwayne K. Buttler (University of Louisville).