More Information on Fair Use More Information on Fair Use Search Cases Index last updated July Fair use is a legal doctrine that promotes freedom of expression by permitting the unlicensed use of copyright-protected works in certain circumstances. Section of the Copyright Act provides the statutory framework for determining whether something is a fair use and identifies certain types of uses—such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching, scholarship, and research—as examples of activities that may qualify as fair use. Section calls for consideration of the following four factors in evaluating a question of fair use:
First, it should help you to focus on factual circumstances that are important in your evaluation of fair use. The meaning and scope of fair use depends on the particular facts of a given situation, and changing one or more facts may alter the analysis.
Second, the checklist can provide an important mechanism to document your decision-making process. Maintaining a record of your fair use analysis can be critical for establishing good faith; consider adding to the checklist the current date and notes about your project.
Keep completed checklists on file for future reference. The Checklist as a Road Map As you use the checklist and apply it to your situations, you are likely to check more than one box in each column and even check boxes across columns.
Some checked boxes will favor fair use and others may oppose fair use. A key issue is whether you are acting reasonably in checking any given box, with the ultimate question being whether the cumulative weight of the factors favors or turns you away from fair use.
This is not an exercise in simply checking and counting boxes. Instead, you need to consider the relative persuasive strength of the circumstances and if the overall conditions lean most convincingly for or against fair use. Because you are most familiar with your project, you are probably best positioned to evaluate the facts and make the decision.
Caveat This checklist is provided as a tool to assist you when undertaking a fair use analysis. The four factors listed in the Copyright Statute are only guidelines for making a determination as to whether a use is fair. Each factor should be given careful consideration in analyzing any specific use.
There is no magic formula; an arithmetic approach to the application of the four factors should not be used.
Depending on the specific facts of a case, it is possible that even if three of the factors would tend to favor a fair use finding, the fourth factor may be the most important one in that particular case, leading to a conclusion that the use may not be considered fair.
Crews formerly of Columbia University and Dwayne K. Buttler University of Louisville.The Fair Use Index is designed to be user-friendly. For each decision, we have provided a brief summary of the facts, the relevant question(s) presented, and the court’s determination as to .
The principle of fair use as set forth in the copyright act provides essential limitations to the exclusive rights of copyright owners that support the University's mission of teaching, scholarship, research, and free inquiry. The Fair Use Checklist.
The Checklist and this introduction 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. . In its most general sense, a fair use is any copying of copyrighted material done for a limited and “transformative” purpose, such as to comment upon, criticize, or parody a copyrighted work.
Even if a use is a fair use for one semester, repeated use of copyrighted materials semester over semester may not be considered a fair use because there is enough time to seek a license from the copyright holder to use the work.
Fair Use Week was first proposed on a Fair Use Allies listserv, which was an outgrowth of the Library Code of Best Practices Capstone Event, celebrating the development and promulgation of ARL's Code of Best Practices in Fair Use for Academic and Research Libraries.