Copyright Corner: What is Fair Use?

Copyright Corner is a new feature for our CHB Library News Blog designed to help you navigate the tricky ins and outs of copyright law.

This week we answer the question: What is fair use?

Copyright affords the creator certain rights including: reproducing, copying, distributing, making derivative works of, publicly displaying or publicly performing the work they created.  To reuse works created by others you must either have received permission from the copyright owner or have determined that the reuse constitutes “fair use”.

 Fair use considers four different elements: (1) the purpose of the use; (2) the nature of the copyrighted work; (3) the amount of the work being used; and (4) the effect of the copying on the value of the original work.  

 For example, if you are creating an educational presentation for a group of colleagues at an internal meeting or at a speaking engagement for which you will receive no profit, and your use of the copyright work is reasonable (several quotes from a single source, one or two images from a single article), your use constitutes fair use.  On the other hand, if you intend to publish your presentation, are a paid speaker or intend to use the same presentation over and over again, it is quite possible that you will need permission to use the work. Get assistance from the Library or the General Counsel’s Office in evaluating any use other than brief quotations for purely academic purposes.

 A “Fair Use Balancing Factors” checklist offers more detail about the four factors of fair use.

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2 Responses to Copyright Corner: What is Fair Use?

  1. Pingback: Copyright Corner: How do I cite an image I found online in a presentation? « Children's Hospital Boston Library News

  2. Pingback: Copyright Corner: Can we reuse an image if it is only going on an internal site or internal document? | Boston Children's Hospital Library News

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