Copyright Law & Fair Use Facts
Purpose and Character of Use
- Using copyrighted works for purposes of comment, criticism or review is considered fair use because it educates or benefits the public. However, if such use has a commercial purpose, a fair-use defense might not be permitted.
The Nature of the Work
- Work that is more creative is generally afforded more protection than work that is dry or factual. Also, unpublished work will be given more protection against a fair- use defense than a published work, as unauthorized use of unpublished work may affect its value if it enters the public market.
Amount and Substantive Value of Work Used
- Courts will consider how much of the copyrighted work was used compared to the whole of the work. But courts can also determine that even a minute amount of the work used is an infringement if that portion goes directly to the "essence" of the copyrighted work.
Effect on Market Value
- This is one of the most important factors courts look at when determining fair use. If an alleged infringer's use of the work causes its author a loss of revenue, fair use might not be an allowable defense.
What is "Fair Use" Safe?
- According to the U.S. Copyright Office, if you question whether your use of copyrighted material meets the criteria of fair use, it is always advisable to get the author's permission first.