Fair use is a legal principle that provides certain limitations on the exclusive rights of copyright holders. There is no simple test to determine what is “fair use.” Section 107 of the Copyright Act sets forth the four fair use factors which should be assessed in each instance, based on the particular facts of a given case, to determine whether a use is "fair."
The following four factors are used to determine if a use is fair:
* Not all uses in an academic context are automatically considered fair use!
Open Culture refers to the idea that knowledge should be shared, developed, and enriched in an "open," collaborative manner, free from restrictive copyright laws. Copyright holders who agree with the "open culture" philosophy typically use a "Creative Commons" or "Open Source" license or publish in an "Open Access" journal.
Creative Commons is a way of assigning a particular type of copyright license to your creative work or intellectual property so that other people can legally reuse it, but within certain guidelines which you specify. There are several different CC licenses, but the most common of these allow users to download and edit the copyrighted material as long as attribution is given.
Open Source is computer software for which the source code is freely available. Open Source Initiative is a non-profit corporation formed to educate about and advocate for the benefits of open source.
Open Access journals allow users to "read, download, copy, distribute, print, search, or link to the full texts" of articles held in the journal.
The use of "open culture" materials, as long as the use conforms to the assigned license, would be considered "fair."
Many sites allow users to search for materials with licenses that allow reuse and remixing (with attribution), or licenses to permit modifications and redistribution of its source code.
The Fair Use Doctrine is probably the most important exemption to copyright protections for educational settings, allowing many uses of copyrighted works for the purposes of teaching and research. The complexity of fair use and its importance in academia make it imperative that every member of University of Northern Iowa understands how to make judgements concerning fair use.
Review these Common Scenarios to help you determine whether or not fair use is appropriate.