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Copyright & Fair Use

This guide provides a brief introduction to copyright law and the fair use doctrine, especially in relation to education.

What is copyright?

"Copyright is a type of intellectual property that protects original works of authorship as soon as an author fixes the work in a tangible form of expression. In copyright law, there are a lot of different types of works, including paintings, photographs, illustrations, musical compositions, sound recordings, computer programs, books, poems, blog posts, movies, architectural works, plays, and so much more!"

What is Copyright?

What is fair use?

Section 107

Section 107 outlines limitations on exclusive rights to allow for "the fair use of a copyrighted work [...] for purposes such criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching (including multiple copies for classroom use), scholarship, or research."

Factors for determining Fair Use:

  1. the purpose and character of the use, including whether such use is of a 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

(Source: Title 17, Chapter 1, Section 107)

Section 108

Section 108 outlines limitations on exclusive rights specifically for reproduction by libraries and archives. This includes allowing libraries to:

  • make a copy of a work (which must include a notice of copyright) for researchers and people using the collections
  • make copies for preservation purposes
  • when replacements are not available for purchase, make physical or digital copies to replace a damaged, deteriorating, lost, or stolen copy or when the format is obsolete
    • " A format shall be considered obsolete if the machine or device necessary to render perceptible a work stored in that format is no longer manufactured or is no longer reasonably available in the commercial marketplace."

(Source: Title 17, Chapter 1, Section 108)

Additional Resources

Video Resources