Four factors are considered in determining whether the use of a work is a fair use:
- the purpose and character of the use, including whether such use is of a commercial nature or is for nonprofit educational purposes;
- the nature of the copyrighted work;
- the amount and substantiality of the portion used in relation to the copyrighted work as a whole; and
- the effect of the use upon the potential market for or value of the copyrighted work.
Fair use allows for distribution of multiple copies of various forms of copyrighted works for distribution to students in a class. Congress has provided guidelines for determining the portion of a work that may be copied and distributed to students without prior permission from the copyright holder. These guidelines prescribe tests which look at brevity, spontaneity, and cumulative effect factors in determining whether fair use will protect the distribution of multiple copies of copyrighted materials.
The fair use doctrine, and the guidelines that Congress has provided to help in determining whether the doctrine applies in particular instances, are discussed in much greater detail in the Copyright Guidelines for the Maricopa Community Colleges. For more information on fair use, we encourage you to refer to those Copyright Guidelines.
Page Updated 11/18/04