What is Fair Use Week?
Fair Use/Fair Dealing Week is an annual celebration of doctrines of fair use in North America, and runs from February 21-25, 2022. First held in 2014 by Kyle K. Courtney at Harvard University, the event has since been sponsored by the Association of Research Libraries. We observe it here at Gleeson Library because fair use is employed daily throughout our campus, and you may not even realize it!
What is Fair Use/Fair Dealing?
Fair Use is an exception to copyright under United States copyright law. Fair Dealing is a limitation to copyright statutes in Aotearoa New Zealand, Australia, Canada, and Great Britain. These terms are not synonymous due to the differing legal systems they operate within. However, fair use is a limitation to copyright, which allows a user to modify or use copyrighted materials without express permission from the copyright holder – under certain circumstances.
Fair use accommodates the First Amendment and is explicitly recognized under Section 107 of the Copyright Act. The intent behind fair use is to allow freedom of expression, including news reporting, satire or parody, innovation, and research. Because fair use is a flexible doctrine, it is determined on a case-by-case basis.
How Do I Know If I Can Use Works Under Fair Use?
As a doctrine, Fair Use is open to interpretation, and the only official way to get a concrete determination on whether a use qualifies as fair use is in a federal court of law. However, Section 107 of the Copyright Act outlines four factors that judges consider when applying fair use. The four factors are:
- The purpose and character of your use – does the new work transform the original material, adding understanding, information, or artistry? Uses such as critique, review, commentary, or satire are often allowed under this factor, as well as educational and classroom uses of work.
- The nature of the copyrighted work – as a general rule, factual material is more likely to be allowed under fair use than fictional works.
- The amount and substantiality of the work – A fair use ruling is more likely when only a small amount of the original work is integrated into the new work. Additionally, the “heart” of the original work should not be used. For example, when preparing course reserves, we generally ask that no more than ten percent of a book under copyright is used.
- The effect of use on the potential market – the last factor when determining fair use is whether the new work is likely to deprive the original copyright owner of work or income.
It bears restating that weighing up these factors takes nuance, and that impacted parties may not agree on what constitutes fair use – but there is a lot of freedom within these four factors. Use your best judgement, and if in doubt, contact our team of copyright experts.
How Do I Celebrate Fair Use Week?
Here are some ideas for observing Fair Use Week:
- Come visit us at Gleeson Library! Our student assistants Ana, Courtney, and Georgina have put together a display on Fair Use near our reference desk.
- Read more about Fair Use Week, or share how Fair Use has supported your work and creativity! Follow @FairUseWeek on Twitter, and search for #FairUseWeek on social media.
- Play this interactive game created by the University of Colorado Boulder to test your understanding of fair use.
- Watch this series of two-minute videos created by the Copyright Alliance on fair use.
- For staff and faculty: Join our Open Education Librarian, Nicky Andrews, on Wednesday 23 February to learn more about our USF Scholarship Repository, including how you can see where your work is making an impact. Register for the CRASE-sponsored noon event online.