Fair Use Week, an annual celebration of the importance of fair use, will take place February 25th through March 1st. As part of this year’s celebration, University Libraries is offering a new workshop at Research Commons—Bringing Fair Use to Life.

What is fair use?

In the United States, copyright law gives to authors and creators a set of exclusive rights in the works they create. Fair use is a limitation on those exclusive rights; the fair use of a copyrighted work is not an infringement. Fair use can make it possible for students, instructors, and researchers to copy and share copyrighted materials, under certain conditions, without having to seek permission from the copyright owner.

So, what makes a use a fair use? To determine whether a use is a fair use in any particular case, the following factors must be considered:

  1. The purpose and character of the use, including whether such use is of a commercial nature or is for nonprofit educational purposes;
  2. The nature of the copyrighted work;
  3. The amount and substantiality of the portion used in relation to the copyrighted works as a whole; and
  4. The effect of the use upon the potential market for or value of the copyrighted work.

For some, the contours and application of these four factors can feel unpredictable and vague. Do all of the factors have to favor fair use? Can you have a fair use when using the entire work? How do you measure market effect? The lack of bright-line rules in fair use, however, can be a positive for users. The flexibility of the doctrine means that it can be applied across many different environments, technologies, and uses.  Fair use is a right available to everyone.

Join us February 27th for the Bringing Fair Use to Life workshop

If you are interested in learning more about fair use and how it can apply to your own research, teaching, or creative endeavors, join us on Wednesday, February 27th from 3-4:30 p.m for the Bringing Fair Use to Life workshop. Attendees will have the opportunity to work through a fair use analysis while making their own collage, remix, zine, or other creative work using text and images from OSU Libraries’ Special Collections.

More information on fair use can be found on the Copyright Service’s website: go.osu.edu/fairuse. Visit the Fair Use Week website to find infographics, webcasts, blog posts, and other resources from organizations participating in Fair Use Week.

By Maria Scheid, Copyright Services Coordinator at Copyright Services, The Ohio State University Libraries.

Learn more about Copyright Services and University Libraries: go.osu.edu/copyright