In general, Copyright Law prohibits reproducing and distributing copyrighted works. However, the "Fair Use Doctrine" (Section 107) allows a limited amount of copying for purposes such as teaching and scholarship. In determining whether the use made of a work in a particular case is a Fair Use, the factors to be considered include:
Fair Use raises almost as many questions as it answers, and can be a persistent source of concern for teachers. The most important point to remember is that Fair Use is both a right and a privilege, and does provide a substantial degree of freedom and protection for teachers. However, that freedom is often challenged, and in reality most educational institutions do not have the resources, skill, or will to engage in long and expensive legal battles over this issue. This Guide is a way for you, as a Lane teacher or administrator, to judge for yourself if you are meeting the spirit and letter of the law.
One of the simplest ways to verify your compliance with Fair Use is to use a checklist. There are several good versions available; we recommend the following. It is a pdf. Download the copy, and work through it, answering the questions honestly. This should put you in compliance with the law.
Remember that the responsibility remains with you. The Library provides these resources as a service, but we cannot offer advice on whether, or to what extent, you are meeting the requirements of the law.
17 U.S.C. § 107
Notwithstanding the provisions of sections 17 U.S.C. § 106 and 17 U.S.C. § 106A, the fair use of a copyrighted work, including such use by reproduction in copies or phonorecords or by any other means specified by that section, for purposes such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching (including multiple copies for classroom use), scholarship, or research, is not an infringement of copyright. In determining whether the use made of a work in any particular case is a fair use the factors to be considered shall include:
The fact that a work is unpublished shall not itself bar a finding of fair use if such finding is made upon consideration of all the above factors.