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Key Copyright Concepts: Fair Use

Remember when I said there are limits to copyright, and Fair Use was one of those limits?

It's a very important limit. Fair Use guidelines are consulted whenever people want to use copyright- protected works without first getting permission from the copyright owner.

Fair Use is not always clear. In fact, this is where the real mystery begins. Good detective work is needed to assure that copyright laws are not infringed upon.

US Copyright Law lists the four factors that must be taken into consideration to determine whether or not usage of a particular copyrighted work is "fair".

Four Factors of Fair Use:

  1. The purpose and character of the use, including whether such use is of commercial nature or is for nonprofit educational purposes
  2. The nature of the copyrighted work
  3. The amount and substantiality of the portion used in relation to the copyrighted work as a whole
  4. The effect of the use upon the potential market for, or value of, the copyrighted work

How do you apply these factors? Let's look at one case.

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updated: 15 August, 2011