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These frequently asked questions were developed in consultation with Laura Gasaway, Professor of Law, University of North Carolina.
Fair Use Guidelines
As a non-profit educational institution, we enjoy exemptions to the Copyright law, which allow instructors and Library Reserves to make copies of materials within "fair use" guidelines. The Copyright Act of 1976 offers these four factors as guidelines for analyzing a variety of situations where instructors may wish to make copies and thus allows for individual interpretation of these factors on a document-by-document basis:
Factor 1: What is the purpose of the use? Use of copyrighted works will be for the educational and non-commercial purposes.
Factor 2: What is the nature of the work to be copied? Using works that are non-fiction or informational is considered more fair than works that are highly creative, such as, music, drama, art, images, fiction, and poetry.
Factor 3: What is the amount used in proportion to the original? The amount used should be directly tailored to educational objectives. Copies should be limited to excerts from longer works, such as book chapters, journal articles, a single poem. The portion used should not be central or significant to the work as a whole.
Factor 4: What is the market effect of the use? Your use of the copyrighted work will not impact the market or potential market value of the original.
Fair Use Checklists and Evaluation Tools
Digital Copyright Slider
This easy-to-use tool helps you answer the question: is this protected by copyright?
Exceptions for Instructors in U.S. Copyright Law
This free online tool helps instructors evaluate and collect information about their use of copyrighted materials for teaching.
Fair Use Checklist
Developed by the Copyright Advisory Office at Columbia Univeristy, this checklist assists faculty and librarians as they evaluate each circumstance when using copyrighted works while providing a record of the decision-making process.
Fair Use Evaluator
A tool created by the American Library Association's Office for Information Technology Policy to assist the fair use decision making process and creates a time-stamped PDF document for your records.
Fair Use Teaching Tools
The Center for Social Media at American University created a set of teaching tools for instructors interested in teaching their students about fair use focusing on the use of film clips, video and YouTUbe.
Know Your Copy Rights
This brochure published by the Association of Research Libraries is intended for faculty and teaching assistants and discusses fair use, displaying and performing works in class, and provides an easy-to-use chart highlighting situations where you may copy or link without fees or permission.
TEACH Act and Copyright Infomation
Developed by Minnesota State University at Mankato, this site provides links to checklists and best practice guidelines for using copyrighted materials while teaching online, hybrid and face-to-face classes.
Thinking Through Fair Use
Developed by the University of Minnesota, this online tool guides users through the four fair use factors to determine if a use of copyrighted material is fair use.