Fair Use allows limited use of copyrighted
materials under certain circumstances without
getting permission from the copyright holder. It
is usually used for educational purposes.
The four factors to be considered for determining
Fair Use are:
The purpose and character of the use, including whether such use is of commercial nature or is for nonprofit educational purposes
The nature of the copyrighted work
The amount and substantiality of the portion used in relation to the copyrighted work as a whole
The effect of the use upon the potential market for, or value of, the copyrighted work
Licenses are available for some types of
copyrighted material that allow for its
use. Licenses are formal agreements
that give permission to an individual or
organization to do something such as in
this case permission to use copyrighted
For example, DVDs are generally sold to
individuals for home use only. They
usually have a warning on them that
states something like, "Licensed for
private home viewing only. Any other use
prohibited." Most videos are sold for
home use only, and any public viewing of
the video is not permitted. This
means that you may not project it on a big
screen for friends and neighbors or
show it to a group of faculty/staff/students
on campus as part of a video series. If
you want to do either of these things, you
must purchase a video with a license for
public performance rights.
Another example of this is the Library’s
subscription databases. They are
licensed to the Library to allow access to
whomever the license agreement allows.
When all other options are exhausted, you
will need to seek permission from the
copyright owner to use/duplicate the
The permission letter on letterhead should
Name of the author, web author, publisher or editor. Title and editions of material to be reproduced; include this info for webpages, also.
How the material will be reproduced (photocopy, off-set, digitized, etc.
Exact material to be used, giving amount, page numbers, chapters, URL link, etc.
Description of how it will be used, including how many times, the number of people it will be distributed to, under what conditions (i.e. on or off campus, online course...)
Details of whether the material will be sold commercially for financial gain (profit) or compensation (cost recovery) or neither?
Details of the individual making request: describe yourself, position, organization represented if applicable. Include return address, telephone/FAX numbers and email.
A place for the recipient to sign to indicate that permission has been granted.
If you receive oral permission, document the conversation and follow up with a letter.