What is Fair Use and Why Should I Care?
Fair use is the right to reuse existing copyrighted materials without permission under certain circumstances. It is very flexible. If you have ever written a book review or used a movie clip in class to illustrate a point, you have relied on fair use. So have writers of parody songs, documentary filmmakers, museums, publishers who translate works into Braille, and even Google.
To decide whether a use is fair, you need to weigh 4 factors:
- · The purpose and character of the use
- · The nature of the copyrighted work
- · The portion used in relation to the copyrighted work as a whole
- · The effect of the use upon the potential market
You can use a fair use checklist to help you judge whether a use is likely to be fair. The following catchphrase is also a good rule of thumb: Use fairly. Not too much. Have reasons. Ask yourself: Am I doing something new with this? Or am I just copying the work for its same purpose? And does the amount I’m using make sense for what I’m trying to do?