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This is the "Fair Use" page of the "Copyright" guide.
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Welcome! This guide provides information and resources on copyright and copyright law.
Last Updated: Apr 25, 2017 URL: Print Guide RSS Updates

Fair Use Print Page

Fair Use Check List


What About Fair Use?


The guidelines governing electronic reserves and posting at CIIS are based on the United States Copyright Act of 1976. 17 USC § 107 which establishes the principle, commonly called "fair use," that the reproduction of copyrighted works for certain limited, educational purposes, does not constitute copyright infringement.

  • Instructors are responsible for evaluating, on a case-by-case basis, whether the use of a copyrighted work on electronic reserves or posted in course  spaces  or handed out in class, requires permission or qualifies as a fair use
  • If relying upon the fair use exception, instructors must consider the four factor test for each piece and complete and retain a copy of the *Fair Use Checklist before posting in their course space, handing out or sending material
  • There must be pedagogical need and only required readings (that are not in course textbooks, course packs or readers, or consumable workbooks) should be considered
  • Materials made available via electronic format under fair use have the following restrictions
    • A complete citation to the original source of publication must be included
    • Copyright notice must be included
    • The institution, instructor or library must possess a lawfully obtained copy of the material
    • Access must be restricted by password and limited to students enrolled in the course plus instructors
    • Material must be removed at the end of the semester
    • Material may only be used once under fair use – subsequent uses may require copyright holders permission or payment or copyright fees or royalties

*The Fair Use Checklist is a tool to assist you in making a reasoned and balanced application of the four fair use factors in determining whether a given use of a work is a fair use. The checklist outlines various factual circumstances that are important to the evaluation of a contemplated fair use. It derives from the four fair use factors and from judicial decisions interpreting copyright law. 

There are four factors in determining fair use:

1.        Purpose: The purpose and character of the use, including whether such use is of a commercial nature, or is for nonprofit education purposes

2.        Nature: The nature of the copyrighted work

3.        Amount: The amount and substantiality of the portion used in relation to the copyrighted work as a whole

4.        Effect: The effect of the use upon the potential market for, or value of, the copyrighted work

See the CIIS Acceptable Amounts and Limits document for further guidance on the portions of a copyrighted work that may be considered for Fair Use.

If you are willing to consider all of the above for each copyrighted item used, every semester, and retain a copy of your checklist for each copyrighted item posted, you may consider engaging fair use.

Copyright permission should be obtained:

  • When an article is needed for more than one semester
  • When multiple articles from the same journal are needed
  • When multiple classes or sections of a class are using the same reading
  • When one chapter of a book is needed for more than one semester
  • When multiple chapters of a book are needed

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