Fair Use is the use of copyrighted content without the expressed permission of the copyright holder under certain circumstance. Whether a use is considered Fair Use is determined on a case by case basis. There is no “bright line” universal rule for what constitutes Fair Use.

Four factors are used to analyze whether a use is Fair Use:

  • The purpose and character of use, including whether the use is for commercial or noncommercial purposes;
  • The nature of the copyrighted work; factual works, for example, are more likely to fall under fair use than highly artistic or creative works.
  • The amount and substantiality of the portion used in relation to the copyrighted work as a whole;
  • The effect of the use upon the potential market for or value of the copyrighted work.

All four of these factors should be weighed simultaneously when evaluating a fair use case.

See the ARL Code of Best Practices for examples of Fair Use in higher education.

General Fair Use Resources

Fair Use Resources for Teachers

Fair Use Resources for Faculty

Fair Use Resources for Other Media