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Pursuant to the provisions of Section 107 of the Copyright Act of 1976, some content herein may refer to copyrighted material under a limited allowance for criticism, comment, teaching, scholarship, research, education, and/or news reporting.  Such content by another author may be allowed by “fair use” of said material without permission, provided certain guidelines are adhered to, viz, the following factors:

1st Factor:  The Purpose and Character of the Use

The statute indicates that nonprofit educational purposes are favored over commercial uses.  Not all nonprofit educational uses are fair, but limiting your purpose to criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching, scholarship, or research could be important to claim “fair use”.

Courts tend to favor uses that are “transformative”, as opposed to mere reproductions.  That is, for example, when copyrighted material such as a quotation, is “transformed” into something used to comment on the original as a means of teaching, or criticism of the author’s context.

2nd Factor:  The Nature of the Copyrighted Work

Courts tend to give greater protection to creative works, such as art, music, poetry, and feature films, than they might be of nonfiction work.  Therefore “fair use” applies more broadly to nonfiction, rather than fiction.  The use of a work that is commercially available specifically for the educational market is generally disfavored and is likely to be considered a “fair use”.

3rd Factor:  The Amount or Substantiality of the Portion Used

Although the law does not set exact quantity limits, generally the more you use, the less likely you are within “fair use” guidelines.  The amount of material relative to the length of the entire original, considering the amount needed to effectively serve the purpose of a proper objective (teaching, comment, criticism, etc.), is weighed by the courts when determining whether the amount of material is limited enough to claim “fair use”.  In other words, it’s advisable to keep the amount of copyrighted material to a minimum quantity to make your point, without copying entire passages that are less relevant to the issue.

4th Factor:  The Effect of the Use on the Potential Market for of Value of the Work

Effect on the market is more complicated than the other three factors.  Fundamentally, this factor means that if you could have realistically purchased or licensed the copyrighted work, that fact weighs against a finding of “fair use”.  To evaluate this factor, you should investigate the market to determine whether the copyrighted material is reasonably available for purchase or licensing.    Copyrighted material may be “reasonably available” if you are using a significant portion of a book that is for sale at a typical market price.  “Effect” is closely linked to “purpose”.  If your purpose is research or scholarship, market effect may be difficult to prove.  If your purpose is commercial, then adverse market effect may be easier to prove.