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Fair Use

Fair Use Criteria 

Fair Use exemptions apply to some educational uses of copyrighted materials in the classroom. However, it is important to note that the use of copyrighted works for non-profit, educational purposes is not the only factor to consider when determining if fair use applies. Additionally, simply citing a work that you copy, distribute, perform, or display does not mean that it is a fair use exemption.

There are four criteria1, all of which must be considered, in determining 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. amount and substantiality of the portion used in relation to the copyrighted work as a whole; and
  4. the effect of the use upon the potential market for or value of the copyrighted work.

There are no definitive rules on the application of these criteria, it is subjective and open to interpretation. Therefore, one must go through the criteria as they relate to his/her use of copyrighted materials and make an appropriate determination based on these criteria. There are resources that can assist you in this process, such as the “Fair Use Checklist” listed below along with other resources describing the spectrum of uses favoring and not favoring fair use for each of these criteria.

The Fair Use Liaison, Faculty Liaison, Learning Technologies, Jackie Fritz (x8056 is also available to assist you with specific questions and to provide you additional information and explanation on this topic.

Fair Use Checklist 

Access the checklist at the link below to assist you in determining fair use. This checklist was created by Professor Kenneth Crews and the staff of the Copyright Management Center at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis and is available through the Copyright Clearance Center website.

A Fair(y) Use Tale

A witty and informative video about Fair Use, directed by Eric Faden and presented by the Media Education Foundation.