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Fair Use

Seek permission from the copyright holder if you intend to use the article for more than one calendar year in your course or exceed any of the following guidelines:

  • use of up to 10 percent or one chapter from a book
  • one article from a periodical issue or newspaper
  • one short story, short essay, or short poem (250 words max), whether or not from a collective work
  • one chart, diagram, graph, drawing, cartoon or picture from a book, periodical or newspaper
  • For current information on Fair Use relating to the Georgia State University Case, see the EDUCAUSE Fair Use page

"Fair use” provides for exceptions to the exclusive rights of copyright owners, making it possible for teachers and librarians to use portions of copyrighted works for specific purposes. Below is the part of the 1976 US Copyright Law governing this area:

§ 107. Limitations on exclusive rights: Fair use

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. In determining whether the use made of a work in any particular case is a fair use the four factors to be considered shall include:

[Library comments regarding U.S. court decisions are in brackets]

1) the purpose and character of the use including whether such use is of a commercial nature or is for nonprofit educational purposes

[Educational uses are viewed more favorably.]

2) the nature of the copyrighted work

[The more creative the work, the more it is protected, i.e., works of fiction vs. news or historical reports.]

3) the amount and substantiality of the portion used in relation to the copyrighted work as a whole

[See library guidelines.]

4) and the effect of the use upon the potential market or or value of the copyrighted work.

[Student workbooks and other "disposables" should not be copied since the market for the work would be impacted. Multiple chapters of a textbook also should not be copied.]

The fact that a work is unpublished shall not itself bar a finding of fair use if such finding is made upon consideration of all the above factors. Claiming “educational purposes” alone is not enough to claim fair use. All four factors above must be considered. Each is subject to interpretation, and your materials should be examined on a case by case basis.

Fair Use & E-Reserves

Fair use is the policy which makes electronic reserves feasible, but it does not grant a user "carte blanche". In 2008, the Georgia State University was taken to court over its e-reserves policy. While the outcome of that is still pending, we at the College at Brockport require faculty posting materials in Angel to comply with Fair Use guidelines. We also require students to adhere to Fair Use guidelines in the preparation of classwork and in any use of computer or other resources for recreation or leisure.

Please click here to download a Fair Use Checklist to assist you in determining whether your proposed use of materials falls under Fair Use.