Fair Use

We are happy to discuss copyright and fair use but you may well find that the American Library Association’s Fair Use Evaluator can help you get started on a “fair use” evaluation:

http://librarycopyright.net/resources/fairuse/index.php

Alternatively, many organizations have written guidelines or best practices to help define fair use for specific audiences or types of content. These best practices provide an important framework for educators, in particular, in the event your decision supporting fair use is questioned by a court of law. American University’s Center for Media & Social Impact has compiled these documents (see CMSI’s Best Practices), or you may link to the document in the list below that is most applicable to your current needs). Topics are bolded for easier identification.

 

Intellectual Property Crash Course

This six episode miniseries by Crash Course producer Stan Muller explores the complex and persistent issue of intellectual property. This series of educational videos discusses the three major elements of intellectual property: copyright, patents, and trademarks. You can access the entire playlist here or watch the individual videos below:

Crash Course Intellectual Property  #1: Introduction to Intellectual Property

Crash Course Intellectual Property #2: Copyright Basics

Crash Course Intellectual Property #3: Copyright, Exceptions, and Fair Use 

Crash Course Intellectual Property #4: Patents, Novelty, and Trolls

Crash Course Intellectual Property #5: Trademarks and Avoiding Consumer Confusion

Crash Course Intellectual Property #6: International IP Law

Fair Use Evaluation

To help you assess whether your proposed use of copyrighted material is a fair use, complete the online form provided by the Fair Use Evaluator tool. Print out and keep a copy of this time-stamped record, in the event you are asked by a copyright owner or a court of law how you arrived at your decision. Conducting this evaluation after you’ve used the content is not recommended.


Fair Use Evaluator

Fair Use Exceptions for Instructors (for performance and display of copyrighted material in traditional, distance, or blended educational models)

Course Packs

There is no such thing as a “fair use course anthology.” Instructors who choose to create a course pack of required readings for his/her students should conduct a fair use analysis for each item to be included in the pack. Use the Fair Use Evaluator tool to help you determine whether your proposed use is defensible as a fair use. You may also refer to the U.S. Copyright Office’s Reproduction of Copyrighted Works by Educators and Librarians (PDF) for more specific information, or call the Copyright Office for assistance.

When a proposed use of any copyrighted work appears to go beyond fair use limitations, you may decide to develop a course pack. Please contact Jared Prebish (703-993-3835) with the Mason Bookstore for assistance.

Fair Use Fundamentals

The copyright statute (17 U.S.C.) provides a number of limitations on the exclusive rights granted a copyright holder. The “Fair Use doctrine” is a relatively brief but extremely important limitation that empowers users to copy a portion or, in some cases, all of a work without asking for permission from the content owner. The decision-making process involves your objective consideration of each of the four factors stipulated in § 107 to assess the impact of your use on the rights of the copyright holder. To that end, forms and tools included on this website will assist you in weighing these factors and making a decision about whether your use is a fair use. A definition of “fair use”, as defined in the statute, is a good starting point.Continue Reading Fair Use Fundamentals