Fair Use

In accordance with Section 107 of the Copyright Act, the reproduction of a copyrighted work may be considered “fair” when the work is used for such purposes as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching, scholarship, or research. 


In order to determine if a particular use qualifies as fair use, all of the following factors must be met: 

  1. The purpose and character of the use (whether for commercial or nonprofit educational use);

  2. The nature of the copyright protected work;

  3. The amount and substantiality of the portion used; and
  4. The effect of the use upon the potential market for or value of copyrighted work.
U.S. Copyright Office
Explanation of Fair Use and exceptions to the U.S. Copyright Law.
The Fair Use Evaluator is an online interactive tool that can help users understand how to determine if the use of a protected work is a “fair use.” It helps users collect, organize, and document the information they may need to support a fair use claim, and provides a time-stamped PDF document for the users’ records.
American Library Association
Outstanding information resource on topics such as articles, legislation, tools. court cases, Digital Millennium Copyright, Distance Education and the TEACH Act, Fair Use, general copyright, Google Book Settlement, international copyright, open access, and orphan works.
Center for Internet and Society at Stanford - Fair Use Legal Experts Answer Fair Use Questions (Video) Questions and scenarios are provided.
Transformative Factor and Fair Use - Stanford
If YES to the bulleted questions below, one uses of copyrighted excerpts may be Fair Use.
  • Has the material you have taken from the original work been transformed by adding new expression or meaning?
  • Was value added to the original by creating new information, new aesthetics, new insights, and understandings?
Fair Use - NOLO
Advice with excellent scenarios/examples from Nolo Publishing that began its do-it-yourself legal guides in 1971.
Fair Use Checklist - Columbia University Libraries/Information Services, Copyright Advisory Office
index Designed by Della Curtis, Coordinator
Office of Library Information Services, April 2012