It’s Fair Use Week

As is widely known and cared about throughout the tiny, sheltered world of copyright enthusiasts, today is the final day of Fair Use Week, “an annual celebration held the last week of February” that “celebrates the important doctrines of fair use in the United States and fair dealing in Canada and other jurisdictions.”  The doctrines of fair use and fair dealing are, in the words of the official Fair Use Week website, “essential limitations and exceptions to copyright, allowing the use of copyrighted materials without permission from the copyright holder under certain circumstances.”  In the U.S., fair use is codified in Section 107 of the Copyright Act, which provides that “the fair use of a copyrighted work, including such use by reproduction in copies or phonorecords or by any other means specified by that section, for purposes such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching (including multiple copies for classroom use), scholarship, or research, is not an infringement of copyright.”  Section 107 further provides that, “[i]n determining whether the use made of a work in any particular case is a fair use the factors to be considered shall include—(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; and (4) the effect of the use upon the potential market for or value of the copyrighted work.”  The four factors are analyzed by the courts on a case-by-case basis, and there is no bright-line rule as to whether a particular use of copyrighted material is a fair use.  However, to help prospective fair users navigate the murky legal waters, the Fair Use Week website has published a handy infographic to explain the “Fair Use Fundamentals.”  See the infographic here, and the Fair Use Week website here.  Reposted from Fair Use Week.

 Fair Use Week, under Creative Commons license.

Fair Use Week, under Creative Commons license.