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Copyright and Fair Use

Fair Use for Teaching and Learning

What is fair use?

The purpose of fair use is to balance the rights of copyright owners and the benefit to the public.

Fair use is a provision of U.S. Copyright Law that recognizes certain uses of copyright-protected works which do not require permission from the copyright holder. (See Title 17, section 107)

Fair use in US Copyright Law

Section 107 describes fair use as follows:

The fair use of a copyrighted work . . . 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.

How can fair use be determined in specific cases?

Copying is generally considered to be within fair use if three of the four factors lean in that direction.  The law does not specify percentages, page counts, or measurements. The AMBS Fair Use Analysis Checklist lists the criteria to be considered for each of the four factors.

AMBS faculty providing course readings

AMBS faculty follow procedures outlined in two documents that are posted in the Faculty Tools box in Moodle, Providing Course Readings and Linking to Online Resources. AMBS Librarians monitor developments in copyright compliance and advise faculty as needed. The AMBS Library staff provides scanning services for AMBS faculty.

A Fair(y) Use Tale (video)

This humorous look at fair use combines clips from Disney animated films.

Resources on fair use in academia