Fair Use Week 2016

This year, Fair Use Week is February 22-26.

How much do you know about fair use? If you are a student, you probably benefit from it every day, sometimes without realizing it. When does fair use apply to what you do? Here are some examples (via ARL’s infographic):

  • For class
    • Writing papers with quotes cited from other works
    • Posting a copy of a news article to Canvas
    • Searching Google Books for a page containing a certain quote
    • Forwarding an email with photos attached
  • For fun
    • Posting a short clip from a TV show onto Facebook
    • Taking a selfie with a Star Wars advertisement in the background
    • Writing a chapter of fan fiction and posting it online

Most of these examples involve making copies of copyrighted materials. Writing fan fiction, for example, does not involve direct copying of works, but it does create a derivative work.

How are you allowed to do these things without fear of copyright infringement? Under certain conditions, you do not need to seek permission to use copyrighted materials.

To know if something might fall under fair use, there are four factors involved with determining this:

  1. Purpose for the use (nonprofit educational use or commercial use)
  2. Nature of the original work (film, article, etc.)
  3. Amount used (small portion or substantial amount)
  4. Effect on the work’s use on the market (if the copyright owner might lose profits from the work)

It is not advisable to apply this four-pronged test yourself, since it is highly subjective and may not stand up in a court of law. Instead, see the UCF Use of Copyrighted Material Policy and visit the UCF General Counsel’s website for guidance. UCF Students should contact the Office of Scholarly Communication at the John C. Hitt Library.

Of course, remember to follow proper citation guidelines to avoid plagiarism. See the library guides for citation & writing help or go through the Information Literacy module.

We hope that Fair Use Week 2016 will inspire you to read more, understand the impact, and investigate interesting news about the applications of fair use. Curious about how to celebrate fair use? The Association of Research Libraries lists ideas in their announcement for Fair Use/Fair Dealing Week.

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