This guide does not supply legal advice, nor is it intended to replace the advice of legal counsel.
The Copyright Act gives the owner of a copyright the exclusive right to reproduce and distribute their work. One exception to this exclusive right is found in section 107 of the Copyright law, and is called "the fair use exception."
The fair use exception permits the reproduction of a portion of a copyrighted work without the copyright owner's permission, under certain circumstances. Licenses apply before application of Fair Use or Educational Use.
This is a vitally important exception for education, as it enables students, scholars, and critics to use and reference copyrighted works in their own scholarship, teaching, and critiques.
Under the “fair use” rule of copyright law, an author may make limited use of another author’s work for commentary and criticism 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.
The four factors are not meant to be exclusive and must be examined together. The statute does not indicate how much weight is to be accorded each factor, therefore, it is advisable to treat the four factors equally.
Need help determining whether your desired use is eligible for educational or fair use exceptions to copyright law? Use these tools to help you analyze your use and learn more about legal precedent in fair use cases.