This guide is intended for informational purposes and should not be construed as legal advice or guidance. If you have specific legal questions, please contact EMU's Legal Affairs Office.
What is Fair Use?
Fair use is a doctrine that allows use of a copyrighted work without permission. Its goal is to balance the rights of the copyright holder with the rights of the public.
Fair use is an exemption to the exclusive rights of a copyright holder. It is part of copyright law.
Copyright law lists four factors to consider when determining if a specific use is fair or not.
Factor 1: "The purpose and character of the use, including whether such use is of a commercial nature or is for nonprofit educational purposes"
Factor 2: "The nature of the copyrighted work"
Factor 3: "The amount and substantiality of the portion used in relation to the copyrighted work as a whole"
Factor 4: "The effect of the use upon the potential market for or value of the copyrighted work."
If you are relying on the fair use doctrine, document your decisions. Your documentation can demonstrate that you made a good faith determination of fair use if the copyright holder challenges your decision.
The Fair Use Checklist below may be helpful in tracking your fair use decisions.