Fair Use

A copyright is a legal protection that gives the owner of a work the exclusive right to reproduce it, distribute copies, prepare derivative works, and perform or display it publicly. Copyrighted works include any original works such as printed articles from publications, magazines, books, television and radio programs, videos, DVDs, music, Internet sites, and photographs. Copyright protection begins automatically when the work is created in some fixed form and does not require any formal legal filing or copyright notice.

The "fair use" of a copyrighted work, including its reproduction, may be permitted on a case-by-case basis. the following factors are considered in determining fair use:

  1. The purpose and character of the used, including whether such use is of a commercial nature or is for nonprofit education purposes*.

  2. The nature of the copyrighted work.

  3. The amount and substantiality of the portion used in relation to the copyrighted work as a whole.

  4. The effect of the use upon the potential market for or value of the copyrighted work.

*Using copyrighted materials for educational purposes does not in itself afford protection under the fair use doctrine.


updated: November 10, 2008