What is Fair Use?

Posted on: March 1, 2024

Fair Use Week (February 26-March 1, 2024), is something to celebrate! Why?

Fair Use is the part of U.S. copyright law that allows excerpts of copyrighted material to be used verbatim in certain circumstances, such as teaching and research. This includes not only words, but also images, video, and music. Fair Use can make learning more efficient and accessible. But it’s also easily misunderstood.

Some examples of Fair Use could include scanning pages from a book for students to read as part of a course, making content available through course reserves in the library, using sound or video clips for teaching, or reproducing limited amounts of a copyrighted work in new scholarship. But not all educational use is Fair Use.

Limitations: Fair Use is incredibly important to higher education, but it is also quite complex. Read the U.S. Code for a brief summary of the four factors of Fair Use, or for a deep dive, take a look at Chapter 9 of this e-book.

Copyright help: To learn more about Fair Use and Copyright, check out our Copyright Guide. If you still have questions, our Copyright Librarian, Howard S. Carrier, will be happy to help.

Categorised in: