Fair Use for Educational Purposes?

Fair use is a complicated situation especially for K-12 and higher education. What constitutes fair use of copyrighted materials such as a book or software?

While fair use is intended to apply to teaching, research, and other such activities, a crucial point is that an educational purpose alone does not make a use fair. The purpose of the use is, in fact, only one of four factors that users must analyze in order to conclude whether or not an activity is lawful. In determining whether the use made of a work in any particular case is a fair use the factors to be considered shall include:

  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 work as a whole; and
  4. the effect of the use upon the potential market for or value of the copyrighted work.

For more details on each of the four factors, go to "Fair Use: Overview and Meaning for Higher Education"

Submitted by:Barbara Bray