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Copyright & Fair Use

This is an academic guide on copyright and fair use.

Fair Use in Academia

The Fair Use Doctrine is probably the most important exemption to copyright protections for educational settings, allowing many uses of copyrighted works for the purposes of teaching and research. However, the complexity of fair use mean individuals in academia must make  judgments concerning how to implement it in a manner consistent with the legal standards and practice.

Tools to help you Determine Fair Use

What Determines Fair Use?

The following four factors are used to determine if a use is fair:

  1. The purpose of the use (eg. commercial vs. educational)*
  2. The nature of the copyrighted work
  3. The amount of the material used (the greater the amount copied, the less likely it is fair use)
  4. The effect of use on the potential market for or value of the work

* Not all uses in an academic context are automatically considered fair use!

What is Fair Use?

Fair Use is a concept embedded in U.S. law that recognizes that certain uses of copyright-protected works do not require permission from the copyright holder. 

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