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Fair Use Doctrine

Under "fair use" you may reproduce copyrighted materials, within certain conditions, without first obtaining the copyright owner's permission. This usually includes making a single copy for personal research use. However, "fair use" is not precisely defined in numbers of pages or copies.

Refer to the Act below to determine whether your intended use falls within "fair use".

Refer to Course Reserves for examples of copyright compliant and non-compliant use.

17 U.S.C. SS107.  Limitations on exclusive rights:  Fair use

Notwithstanding the provisions of section 106, the fair use of a copyrighted work, including such use by reproduction in copies or phono records 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 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.

Helpful Resources

  1. The Complete Guide to Fair Use & YouTube (AdWeek)
  2. (United States Federal Regulations)
  3. Music Licensing: What is Considered Fair Use? (Copyright Clearance Center)
  4. Use of Copyrighted Music on College and University Campuses (American Council on Education)