What is Fair Use?
The concept of Fair Use may be found in the opens new windowU.S. Code, Title 17, Chapter 1, Section 107
Under the “fair use” rule of copyright law, an author may make limited use of another author’s work without asking permission. However, “fair use” is open to interpretation. Fair use is intended to support teaching, research, and scholarship, but educational purpose alone does not make every use of a work fair. It is always important to analyze how you are going use a particular work against the following four factors of fair use.
- What is your purpose in using the material? Are you going to use the material for monetary gain or for education or research purposes?
- What is the characteristic nature of work – is it fact or fiction; has it been published or not?
- How much of the work are you going to use? Small amount or large? Is it the significant or central part of the work?
- How will your use of the work effect the author’s or the publisher’s ability to sell the material? If your purpose is for research or education, your effect on the market value may be difficult to prove. However, if your purpose is commercial gain, then you are not following fair use.
Fair Use Checklist
The Association of Research Libraries (ARL) presents a clear and easy-to-use statement of fair and reasonable approaches to fair use.
This document is provided by University Libraries, Dwayne K. Buttler, Endowed Chair for Scholarly Communication, U of Louisville.
It is based upon a work created by D. Buttler & Prof. K. D. Crews at the Copyright Management Center, IUPUI. Version UL 2/23/05.
To use materials that do not fall within Fair Use, contact the copyright holder to request permission. Here is a sample permission request letter.