Saturday, October 4, 2008

What is Fair Use?

A Simple Guide to Fair Use

Fair use refers to exceptions in copyright law that allow use of information for educational purposes.The government wants to protect authors but still allow educators to use information.

Interestingly however, fair use is not a right given to people it is a defense used in court in defense of infringement.

How do I know what I can use?

There are four factors that must be considered. We are trying to balance the rights of the author of the material with our rights of free speech.

Factor #1 Use
Part 1: you must be nonprofit public or private school
Part 2: you can use copyrighted information if it is for criticism, commentary or news reporting.

Factor #2 Nature of the Copyrighted Work
Part 1: Fact or fiction? Facts cannot be copyrighted. Part 2: Published or not published? Published material tends to be protected more because the author had no intention of making the material public.

Factor #3 Amount of Work Used
The less you use the better. How much is too much varies from case to case however you should not use so much of copyrighted material that the "essence of the work" is compromised.

Factor #4 Effect of Use on Market, Value of Work
Are you depriving the author of profit?

Information for this post :
Simpson, Carol. Copyright for Schools: A Practical Guide 4th Edition. Worthington: Linworth Books, 2005.