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Fair Use

Fair Use (Section 107 of the Copyright Act of 1976) allows libraries and educational institutions to use copyrighted works for purposes such as criticism, news reporting, teaching, scholarship, and research. 

According to the Fair Use provision, to determine whether using a work in any particular case is fair use, the following factors must be considered (information in brackets added):

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  1. The purpose and character of the use, including whether such use is of a commercial nature or is for nonprofit educational purposes. 

    [If any money is being made, Fair Use does not apply.]
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  1. The nature of the copyrighted work.
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  1. The amount and substantiality of the portion used in relation to the copyrighted work as a whole. 

    [Using a portion of a work is usually accepted; using an entire book, for example, would violate Fair Use.]
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  1. The effect of the use upon the potential market for or value of the copyrighted work. 

    [If the use of the material prevents sale or payment of some type, Fair Use would probably not apply.]


Note: Where Fair Use is concerned don't confuse your right to use the material without permission with your obligation to cite the source of the material. Even if the material isfairly used (for educational, non-profit purposes), credit still needs to be given to the author/creator of the material.

If you ever doubt whether your use of copyrighted material is considered fair use, you should seek permission from the copyright owner.

Chapter 9 — Page 3