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Everything you need to know about copyright, fair use, plagiarism and more. An important guide for students and instructors alike.

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Sara Tabaei's picture
Sara Tabaei

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Copyright and Fair Use

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Copyright is a form of protection provided by US laws to creators of content, or those who generate “original works of authorship,” including literary, dramatic, musical, artistic, and certain other intellectual works, both published and unpublished; in print, electronic, online, or any other format. Copyright exists to foster creativity, giving certain exclusive rights to writers, musicians, artists, and other types of creators, the exclusive rights to their works.

Fair use is an important part of U.S. copyright law as it provides a means of balancing users’ needs against the exclusive rights of copyright holders. Fair use is not a straightforward concept, rather, any fair use analysis must be conducted on a case by case basis, considering factors and the individual circumstances at hand; it does not guarantee against a claim of copyright infringement.

The Four Factors Determining Fair Use:

1. The purpose and character of the use, including whether the use is of a commercial nature or is for nonprofit educational purposes;
2. The nature of the copyrighted work used;
3 .The amount and substantiality of the portion used in relation to the copyrighted work as a whole;
4 .The effect of the use upon the potential market for or value of the copyrighted work.
Learn More:

Copyright for Faculty

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