Last week was brought to us by the “Love Your Data Week” celebration, and we learned through a series of posts how to better provide for the care and feeding of our data. This week is brought to us by the “Fair Use/Fair Dealing Week” celebration, where we revisit the significance of fair use in research, learning, work, and life.
What is fair use and how does it impact you?
Fair use is a legal exception within copyright law that allows a person to use copyrighted materials without permission for specific circumstances. You or I can make a fair use determination at any day or time, but the factors that must be considered are the same as if a judge were making a determination in a court of law. These factors are:
- the purpose and character of the use
- the nature of the copyrighted work
- the amount and substantiality of the portion taken, and
- the effect of the use upon the potential market
Stanford has a great resource to review the definitions and details of fair use: http://fairuse.stanford.edu/overview/fair-use/four-factors/
Academics often think of fair use within the context of teaching, research, and scholarship in that fair use allows them to use portions of copyrighted materials for the purpose of teaching concepts within their classrooms and incorporating critical works of others that help support new innovations, creativity, and ideas. But, there are other circumstances where fair use applies within everyday life. Circumstances that enrich us culturally, intellectually, socially, and personally. Some examples of ways that copyrighted content might be used under the umbrella of fair use are:
- reporting the news
- making fun of the news through parody
- making art from someone else’s art
- reproducing a book in large print or braille
One infographic from fairuse.org helps illustrate this point:
..and here is what fair use looks like in a day in the life of a college student…
If you are new to the concept of fair use, it can be complicated to understand and difficult to determine whether fair use applies to your specific need. Barbara and I teach multiple workshops through the academic year on fair use. We also visit individually with students, faculty, and staff to help them make a fair use determination. If you have questions about fair use or other copyright issues, please don’t hesitate to contact us!