In the United States, copyright law grants a limited monopoly to the owner of a copyright.  While that limited monopoly is in effect, others may not utilize any of the six exclusive rights of a copyright owner.  Unless, of course, they have permission from the copyright owner or they can rely on an exception.  Fair use is just such an exception.

A popular common law defense for over 100 years, fair use was codified in the Copyright Act of 1976.  While some criticize fair use for being too vague, that same flexibility gives the exception the ability to cover many types of works in many contexts.  In fact, proponents of fair use are so enamored of it that they host an entire week of events to celebrate it and educate the public on its use.

Fair Use/Fair Dealing Week 2017 is February 20th-24th.  At The Ohio State University, we’ll be celebrating with blog posts, Tweets, and a workshop at the Research Commons on Tuesday, February 21st, all focusing on fair use.  In addition, the Association of Research Libraries keeps a running list of all Fair Use Week events, which can be viewed at

The first piece in The Ohio State University’s celebration of Fair Use Week is this blog post.  It gathers almost all of our previous posts regarding fair use into one place, creating a wonderful primer on fair use news and updates over the past several years.  Stay tuned later in the week for a second blog post highlighting how Senior Instructional Designer John Muir has utilized fair use in his work with faculty.

We invite you to browse our collection of fair use blog posts and follow us on Twitter for more fair use events and information (@OSUCopyright).

Fair Use 101: What is Fair Use?

A great introduction to fair use and how it can benefit you.


Fair Use 101:  Why do we need Fair Use?

If you are already familiar with fair use and want to take a deeper dive, this post highlights some of the policy reasons behind why we have fair use.


Georgia State, A Brief Overview

Overview of Cambridge University Press, et al v. Becker, et al – an important case on the applicability of fair use in the practice of e-reserves.


Fair use toolkit for librarians

If you are a librarian interested in fair use, this is the post for you.  A treasure trove of links to helpful resources, along with a brief overview of ways that fair use can impact libraries.


Fair use best practices to the rescue!

Because of the flexibility of fair use, it can be difficult to determine when one is eligible for a fair use defense.  Best practices can help alleviate some of that confusion, and in this post we discuss how best practices interact with fair use, and link to some popular best practices guidelines.


Fair Use in Digital Storytelling

Authors of digital stories remix and reuse materials to create something new: a short video with a personal narrative.  Learn how fair use intersects and interacts with remixing and the creation of new art.


Google Launches YouTube Fair Use Protection Program

A program launched by Google promises to provide legal support for a select group of videos, determined by Google to represent “some of the best examples of fair use.”



By Marley C. Nelson, Rights Management Specialist, Copyright Resources Center, The Ohio State University Libraries