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Copyright and Fair Use: Fair Use

Resources to help with questions of copyright and fair use in an academic setting.

Tools to help you determine fair use

  • Fair Use Evaluator: 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. Developed by the American Library Association. 
  • Fair Use Analysis Tool: guides users through the process of determining if a use is fair. Developed by The University of Minnesota Libraries.  
  • Fair Use Checklist from Columbia University 

Fair Use in a Nutshell

Fair Use allows you to use copyrighted materials without permission. It is not sufficient to say that the use is for educational purposes and therefore fair use. A four-factor test must be applied and a balanced judgment must be made. The four factors are:

  1. Purpose or character of the use (educational or professional)
  2. Nature of the work used (published vs. unpublished; factual vs. creative)
  3. Portion or amount of the work used
  4. Impact on the market for the work (including the market for permissions)

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Jenny Mills