Fair Use

The following chart is meant to provide a quick reminder of the factors involved in determining whether the use of a copyrighted work is fair. Remember that it is the combination of the answers to all four questions that make up the final determination.

The Law

The four Fair Use Factors Characteristics that would point towards Fair Use: Characteristics that would point towards Infringement:
1. Purpose and character of your use of the work noncommercial, educational or scholarly, newsworthy commercial and/or entertainment
2. Nature of the work used factual, based on public documents creative

3a. Amount and substantiality of the work used

3b. Proportion of your work which is made up of the copyrighted work

small portion - and not the "heart" of the work

small % of your new work

entire work 

majority of your new work

4. Economic effect of use little or no devaluation or money lost substantial actual or probable money lost because of use

Other Considerations

Although not part of the actual law, the following have become, through the development of guidelines and through court cases, important additional considerations that are often added into the test for determining a legitimate fair use.

Additional Considerations On the "good" side of the spectrum: On the "bad" side of the
Exposure single use, small audience multiple use, large/public audience
Premeditation and/or time limit spontaneous, one time use planned, systematic, and/or continuing use
Honesty of use good faith, credit to owner given deception, plagiaristic