Fair Use

From openmichigan

Jump to: navigation, search
Fair Use Explained

None of the information presented below should be considered legal advice. If you are in need of counseling on copyright or any other form of law, please seek the advice of a licensed attorney.

[edit] What is Fair Use

Fair Use, put simply, is a use of a work that normally would be considered to be copyright infringement, but, due to a specific set of guidelines is considered OK, or Fair. The guidelines were set forward to protect the First Amendment Free Speech rights of all citizens.

The four guidelines, outlined below, can not give anyone a quick yes/no answer to whether or not a specific use is Fair. They are only guidelines. Only a Judge can make an actual determination if a specific use is Fair. They can, however, give you an idea of where your specific use fits on a spectrum from Infringing to Fair Use.

[edit] Legal Grounding

The Copyright Act of 1976, U.S.C. § 107, outlines the 4 factors used to determine if a use of a work is a Fair Use or not. The pertinent text:

Notwithstanding the provisions of sections 17 U.S.C. § 106 and 17 U.S.C. § 106A, 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. In determining whether the use made of a work in any particular case is a fair use the factors to be considered shall include:
  1. the purpose and character of the use, including whether such use is of a commercial nature or is for nonprofit educational 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; and
  4. the effect of the use upon the potential market for or value of the copyrighted work.
The fact that a work is unpublished shall not itself bar a finding of fair use if such finding is made upon consideration of all the above factors.
Personal tools