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Oklahoma State University

Copyright and Fair Use: Fair Use Checklist

Checklist for Fair Use

The four questions on this fair use checklist can help you determine whether your proposed use of a copyrighted work is appropriate within the scope of fair use.  Contact the library if you have questions about fair use or copyright.

1) What is the PURPOSE of the proposed use?
 

FAVORS FAIR USE

Teaching
Research
Scholarship
Criticism
Comment
Parody
News reporting
Nonprofit Educational Institution
Restricted Access (available only to students or other appropriate group)
Transformative or Productive use (enhances, yet preserves original work)

 

OPPOSES FAIR USE

Commercial activity (will it be sold?)
Profiting from the use
Entertainment
Bad-faith behavior (ignoring the copyright law)
Denying Credit to original author (lack of credit or no attribution given to original author)

 

 2) What is the NATURE of the copyright work from which it will be used?
 

 FAVORS FAIR USE

Published work
Factual or nonfiction based
Important to favored educational objectives
 

 OPPOSES FAIR USE

Unpublished work
Highly creative work (art, music, novels, films, plays)
Fiction

3) What AMOUNT of the copyrighted work will be used?

You should measure the amount of material both quantitatively and qualitatively. Evaluate quantity relative to the length of the entire work and the amount needed. (The reproduction of an entire work weighs against fair use.) A reproduction that is relatively small but still uses the “heart” of the work will also weigh against fair use.
 

FAVORS FAIR USE

Small quantity of work to be used
Portion used is not central or significant to entire work
Amount is appropriate for favored educational purpose
 

OPPOSES FAIR USE

Large portion or entire work to be used
Portion used is central to work or “heart of the work”

4) What is the EFFECT on the market or potential market if this item is used? 

Reproduction that substitutes for the purchase of the original weighs heavily against fair use.
 

FAVORS FAIR USE

User owns lawfully acquired or purchased copy of original work
One or few copies made
No significant effect on the market on potential market for copyrighted work
No similar product marketed by the copyright holder (item not currently packaged the way you intend to use it)
Lack of licensing mechanism

 

OPPOSES FAIR USE

Could replace sale of copyrighted work
Significantly impairs market or potential market for copyrighted work or derivative
Reasonably available licensing mechanism for use of the copyrighted work
Affordable license fee available for using work
Numerous copies made
Made openly accessible on the internet or in other public forum
Repeated or long time use desired