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Copyright for Faculty: Fair Use Guidelines

A guide to copyright in the classroom. Includes an overview of Copyright Law, common scenarios, Fair Use Guidelines, The TEACH Act, and useful tools for guiding decision-making.

Fair Use Guidelines: Overview

Copyright and Fair Use 

"The goal of copyright law and policy is to foster the progress of science, the creation of culture, and the dissemination of ideas. Its best-known feature is protection of owners’ rights. But copying, quoting, and generally re-using existing cultural and scientific material can be a critically important part of generating new research and culture and promoting intellectual exchange.”

~Code of Best Practices in Fair Use for Academic and Research Libraries.pdf (Association of Research Libraries)
 

Risk Assessment

These are just guidelines. When using them, you are always making a risk assessment.  They were written with the intent to be flexible, which can be both helpful and a hindrance. However, in consulting these guidelines, the intent of ‘good faith’ goes a long way. While attribution is not necessarily part of these guidelines, it shows good faith to do so whenever possible.

 

Legal Document

Fair Use Guidelines (Copyright Law, Section 107)

 

Tools

Fair Use Evaluator (Michael Brewer & ALA Office for Information Technology Policy)

Fair Use Checklist (Columbia University)

Purpose of the Use

Purpose of the Use

Favoring Fair Use

  • Teaching (including multiple copies for classroom use)
  • Research
  • Scholarship
  • Nonprofit educational institution
  • Criticism
  • Comment
  • News reporting
  • Non-commercial use, including personal use
  • Transformative use 
    • Parody, scholarship, criticism, commentary

 

Opposing Fair Use

  • Commercial use
  • Entertainment use
  • Profiting from use

Amount of the Work Used

Amount of the Work Used

Favoring Fair Use

  • Proportionally small quantity used
  • Amount used is appropriate to the educational objective of the course

Opposing Fair Use

  • Larger portions or the entire work
  • Portion used is central to or the "heart of the work"

Nature of the Original Work

Nature of the Original Work

Favoring Fair Use

  • Published works
  • Factual or nonfiction based works 
  • How relevant the work is to the educational objectives of the course

 

Opposing Fair Use

  • Unpublished works
  • Highly creative works
  • Fiction

Impact on the Market for the Original Work

Impact on the Market for the Original Work

Favoring Fair Use

  • User (institution) owns lawfully purchased or acquired copy of the original work
  • Only one or a few copies are made
  • One-time use
  • Use stimulates the market for the original work
  • No way to pay or to seek permission
  • Difficult to redistribute, or to make additional copies of the product of your use

Opposing Fair Use

  • Use of work directly substitutes for a sale of the work
  • Many copies are made
  • Repeated or long-term use
  • Significantly impairs market for copyrighted work
  • Easy to redistribute, or to make additional copies of the product of your use (i.e. digital file, open access online use)

 

 

Fair Use Infographic

Download PDF

Creative Commons License
Fair Use Fundamentals by Association of Research Libraries
 

Videos

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This work is licensed under a

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 License

Distributed on DVD by The Media Education Foundation.

Legal Disclaimer

This guide does not supply legal advice nor is it intended to replace the advice of legal counsel.

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