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Fair Use Information

Fair use Text

Excerpted from United States Code, Title 17, Section 107: In determining whether the use made of a work in any particular case is a fair use the factors to be considered shall include:

  • the purpose and character of the use, including whether such use is of a commercial nature or is for non-profit educational purposes;
  • the nature of the copyrighted work;
  • the amount and substantiality of the portion used in relation to the copyrighted work as a whole; and
  • the effect of the use upon the potential market for or value of the copyrighted work. The fact that a work is unpublished shall not itself bar a finding of fair use if such finding is made uponconsideration of all the above factors.

Fair Use Determination

All factors are considered when determining fair use and no one factor is more important than another. Not all educational uses are “fair uses.” Each use of a copyrighted work needs to be evaluated individually as there are no clear-cut and unambiguous rules of fair use. Kenneth Crews from Columbia University has created a webpage with examples of common scenarios  in the application of the principle of fair use in electronic reserves systems. Each factor is analyzed and possible alternative(s) to electronic reserves are given.