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Fair Use

What is Fair Use?

Fair use is a limitation placed on copyright that allows members of the public to make use of copyrighted works.

As described in Section 107 of the Copyright law, fair use includes use "for purposes such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching (including multiple copies for classroom use), scholarship, or research." When measured against the factors of fair use, these uses are not infringements of copyright.

Note that fair use can be applied to individuals--researchers, scholars, students--as well as to classroom instructors using copyrighted material for educational purposes.

The Factors of Fair Use:

Purpose and character of the use

Nature of copyrighted work

Amount and substantiality of portion used

Effect of the use on the potential market for the copyrighted work

The Time factor


Make multiple copies of works that could substitute for the purchase of books, publisher's reprints, or periodicals.

Copy the same works from semester to semester.

Copy the same material for several different courses at the same or different institutions.

Make multiple copies (that is for everyone in your class) more than nine separate times in a single semester.

What about the Internet? Isn't all that stuff free?

A Note on "special works"...

Additional Information about Fair Use