Skip to Main Content

Introduction to Research Methods: Fair Use

Fair Use Checklist

A fair use checklist will help you evaluate if your use is fair or not.  As you fill out the checklist consider the relative persuasive strength of the circumstances as if you had to be in front of a court judge.  Your decision should be based on whether the overall conditions (not just the number of checked boxes for or against fair use) lean most convincingly for or against fair use.

Fair Use Quiz

Want to learn more about Fair Use?  Try MIT Libraries' Fair Use Quiz.

Fair Use

Fair Use: Section 107 of the U.S. Copyright Act allows for some provisions of using a reproduction of someone else's copyright-protected work if it is used for one of the following purposes: criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching, scholarship and research. However, fair use does not automatically qualify every educational use of a copyrighted work. A fair use evaluation is needed for each use or re-use of a work. The evaluation as to whether the reproduction is fair use must be made based upon four factors:

·         The purpose and character of use (commercial vs. nonprofit educational use)

·         The nature of the copyright-protected work

·         The amount and substantiality of the portion used

·         The effect of the use upon the potential market for or value of the copyright-protected work.

The legal defense for using the fair use provision would be in front of a federal court.

When providing copyrighted works under the provisions of fair use, notify users that the works may be subject to copyright protection.