The fair use exception provides the opportunity for individuals to use copyrighted material for limited purposes without prior permission. Some of these purposes are research, parody, commentary, criticism, and transformation of the work. There are no hard and fast rules that decide fair use, instead, each potential use must be measured against four factors that reveal whether permission is needed or not. These four factors are: purpose of use, nature of use, amount used, and market impact.
Use the following links for more information about fair use and the four factors.
- The Fair Use Exception in the U.S. Code (17 U.S.C. 107) Cornell University's Legal Information Institute
- Everything you want to know about Fair Use from the University of Texas
- University System of Georgia Fair Use Exception page
- A dozen useful questions about using copyrighted material from the University of Michigan
These sites provide guidance in applying the four factors to fair use questions.
- Fair Use Analysis Tool from the University of Minnesota
- Columbia University's Fair Use checklist
- Fair Use Evaluator American Library Association
For information on how the courts have decided fair use cases, see these sites.