Under the “fair use” rule of copyright law, an author may make limited use of another author’s work without asking permission. Fair use is intended to support teaching, research, and scholarship, but educational purpose alone does not make every use of a work fair.
“Fair use” is open to interpretation. It is always important to analyze how you are going use a particular work against the following four factors:
* Plagiarism, or passing off someone’s ideas or research as one’s own, is a different issue and not covered in this guide.
Over the past several years, Michael Brewer (Senior Information Resources Officer (Interim) - University of Arizona Libraries/Chair of the American Library Association Copyright Advisory Subcommittee) and the American Library Association Copyright Advisory Subcommittee have been developing tools to educate librarians, educators, and others about copyright. These now include the Public Domain Slider, the Section 108 Spinner, the Fair Use Evaluator, and the Exceptions for Instructors eTool. These tools are all available online for anyone to use and links are provided below.
Using these educational tools can help educators and others become more comfortable utilizing the limitations and exceptions to the exclusive rights granted to the copyright holder under U.S. Copyright law. By exercising these valuable exceptions, we strengthen copyright’s primary purpose–“to promote the progress of science and useful arts” (U. S. Constitution, Article 1, Section 8, Clause 8).
These tools are available under the Creative Commons Attribution Noncommercial Share Alike License. The Creative Commons Attribution Noncommercial Share Alike license allows you to modify and use this tool under specific circumstances. Visit: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/3.0/.
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