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Copyright and Fair Use at OWU

What is Fair Use?

While US law establishes protections for copyright holders, it also defines limitations to their rights. One such example is the doctrine of fair use (Section 107). Individuals using copyrighted works for "purposes such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching (including multiple copies for classroom use), scholarship or research" can weigh their use against the four factors defined in Section 107 to determine if they need to seek permission from the copyright holder.

The Four Factors

  1.  The purpose and character of the use, including whether such use is of 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.

The staff of OWU Libraries use the four factors to determine whether or not to secure copyright permissions for electronic reserves.


For an overview of issues related to the use of copyrighted materials in an academic setting, check out the following resources:

Fair Use Checklists

Still not sure if it's fair use? The following universities have created checklists that may help: