Fair Use of Licensed Works

License: Fair use

  • 17 U.S. Code § 107 - Limitations on exclusive rights: Fair use https://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/text/17/107

    the fair use of a copyrighted work, including such use by reproduction in copies or phonorecords or by any other means specified by that section, for purposes such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching (including multiple copies for classroom use), scholarship, or research, is not an infringement of copyright

  • Overview Sections Archive - Stanford Copyright and Fair Use Center
  • Summaries of Fair Use Cases - Copyright Overview by Rich Stim - Stanford Copyright and Fair Use Center
  • Fair uses:
    • 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.
    • Such uses can be done without permission from the copyright owner.
    • Fair use is a defense against a claim of copyright infringement.
  • Main categories:
    • Commentary and Criticism : criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching, scholarship, or research
    • Parody
  • Four factors:
    • The Transformative Factor: The Purpose and Character of Your Use
      • Whether the material has been used to help create something new or merely copied verbatim into another work.
      • So check: [1] Has the material you have taken from the original work been transformed by adding new expression or meaning? [2] Was value added to the original by creating new information, new aesthetics, new insights, and understandings?
      • Example of transformative uses: parody, scholarship, research, or education
    • The Nature of the Copyrighted Work
      • Dissemination of facts or information benefits the public. Fair use copy from factual works (biographies, facts) is better than you do from fictional (plays or novels).
      • Fair use copy the material from a published work is better than from an unpublished work
    • The Amount and Substantiality of the Portion Taken
      • The less you take, the more likely that your copying will be excused as a fair use, but you are more likely to run into problems if you take the most memorable aspect of a work
    • The Effect of the Use Upon the Potential Market
      • Is whether your use deprives the copyright owner of income or undermines a new or potential market for the copyrighted work.
  • Common mistakes:
    • Acknowledgment of the source material (such as citing the photographer) may be a consideration in a fair use determination, but it will not protect against a claim of infringement. So check four factors above.
    • Disclaimers such as "No Copyright Intended" or fair use claims, don't mean that the work qualifies as a fair use. If the fair use factors weigh against you, the disclaimer wont make any difference. So check four factors above.
  • To limit damages:
    • Stating something to the effect of: "No copyright is claimed in [content copied] and to the extent that material may appear to be infringed, I assert that such alleged infringement is permissible under fair use principles in U.S. copyright laws. If you believe material has been used in an unauthorized manner, please contact the poster."
    • Stating disclaimers. "This book is not associated with or endorsed by the xxx Company."