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Copyright@Drew: Fair Use

Fair use overview- US Copyright Office

Tools Analyze Your Copyright Question

Other Limitations on Exclusive Rights of Copyright Holders

In addition to Fair Use (Section 107), other Limitations on Exclusive Author Rights provide for other legal uses of copyrighted material.

Fair Use Definition

"Limitations on Exclusive Rights: Fair Use" is found in Title 17, Chapter 1, Section 107 of the U.S. Code. Fair Use of a copyrighted work limits the exclusive rights of copyright holders (e.g. authors, artists, creators), outlined in Section 106, for purposes such as:

  • criticism
  • commentary
  • news reporting
  • teaching
  • multiple copies for classroom use
  • scholarship
  • research
  • parody or other transformative purposes

Fair Use Four Factors + Transformative Use


In determining whether the use of a work is a Fair Use, consider these four factors:

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

You must consider all four factors together when evaluating the fair use of a copyrighted work.

Important Fair Use litigation since the 1990s shows that judges return again and again to two key analytical questions:

  • Transformative Use: Did the use "transform" the material taken from the copyrighted work by using it for a broadly beneficial purpose different from that of the original, or did it just repeat the work for the same intent as the original.
  • Nature and Amount of Material Used: Was the material taken appropriate in kind and amount, considering the nature of the copyrighted work and of the use.

Source: "More information on Fair Use". U.S. Copyright Office

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