Answered By: John
Last Updated: Aug 03, 2020     Views: 126

 "Fair Use" is a set of guidelines that US federal courts examine when settling a claim of copyright infringement.  Generally speaking, smaller portions of copyrighted works may be reproduced or used without permission from the copyright holder.  Remember that "license trumps law," meaning that if library licensing agreements, or a publisher's copyright notice specifically prohibits such use as might otherwise be deemed "fair", then the material cannot be used freely (Example: the Harvard Business Review's "permissions" notice specifically prohibits use of their materials on Canvas, without first getting permission - therefore Fair Use does not apply).  You may ask permission from the copyright holder (an email may suffice), and/or pay a fee to use.  It is the individual who uses the material who is responsible for compliance, but it's not always easy to be sure.  The Standish Library's Copyright Assistance service is available to help you.  Fair Use guidelines are as follows:

  1. The purpose and character of your use (Is your use building upon the original, or a copy?)
  2. The nature of the copyrighted work (Is the work fact or fiction?  Factual works are less risky to use.)
  3. The amount and substantiality of the portion taken (are you using an entire book, or just one chapter?  One chapter is probably fine, but not the entire book.)
  4. The effect of the use upon the potential market (Does your use negatively impact the copyright holder's income?)

(U.S. Code, Title 17, Section 107)

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