Fair Use

Copyright Myths and Fair Use

© Myth: It doesn't say it's copyrighted!

As of March 1, 1989, the copyright warning does not have to appear for a work to be legally copyrighted. However, it is a good idea to remind people of your copyrights by including:

  • © 1997 by [your name]
  • Copyright by [your name]

Consider adding statements that grant permission or restrict use, such as:

"Permission is given to copy this work provided credit is given and copies are not intended for sale."

"Use or inclusion of any portion of this document in another work intended for commercial use will require permission from the copyright owner."

Copyright from University Libraries

© Myth: It's OK--it's for education.

Before you include someone else's work without permission, consider ALL 4 of the fair use factors:

  1. Purpose and character of use
    • commercial or educational use
    • for profit or not
    • degree of transformation; value added
    • for criticism, commentary, news reporting, teaching, scholarship, research
  2. Nature of the copyrighted work
    • character of the work
      for example, fact or fiction
    • worthy of (extensive) protection?
  3. Amount, substantiality
    • use only what's necessary
    • quantity and quality in relation to the whole work
  4. Effect
    • harm to potential market or value of a work after a portion has been used separately from the whole

Review the law, US Code, Title 17, Sect. 107

Using the Four Factor Fair Use Test
Georgia Harper, University of Texas at Austin.

VT Fair Use Checklist