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Northwest Missouri State University


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Fair Use Questionnaire

Consider four factors (purpose, nature, amount, effect) when weighing whether use of a copyrighted source falls under educational fair use guidelines as defined by Section 107 of the Copyright Law of the United States of America. One way to establish if an instance constitutes educational fair use is to complete the following questionnaire and analyze the results to determine if your proposed use is justified under fair use interpretation.

Attention: Professors photocopying materials for course content, consider Factor 4: Effect carefully. See the Owens Library Copyright Permission page for further information.

FACTOR 1: PURPOSE
Pro Fair Use (Affirmative answers to these questions are weighted toward fair use.)

  • Is it for teaching purposes?
  • Will a not-for-profit institution use it for an educational purpose?
  • Will the use of the source further scholarship, criticism or comments on a work, or the reporting of news?
  • Will the new work build upon, rather than simply restate, the content of the original work?
  • Is access to the new work or the reproduction of the original work restricted?
  • Is the new work a parody of the original work?

Con Fair Use (Affirmative answers to these questions are weighted against fair use.)

  • Is the new work created for a commercial purpose?
  • Will the authors of the new work profit from its use?
  • Is the new work used for entertainment?
  • Is the author of the new work attempting to avoid compliance with copyright law?
  • Does the new work fail to acknowledge the original author?

FACTOR 2: NATURE
Pro Fair Use (Affirmative answers to these questions are weighted toward fair use.)

  • Has the original work been published?
  • Is the content factual/nonfiction?
  • Does the use further educational purposes?

Con Fair Use (Affirmative answers to these questions are weighted against fair use.)

  • Is the original work unpublished?
  • Is the original work a creative entity such as a song, painting, or poem?
  • Is the content fiction?

FACTOR 3: AMOUNT
Pro Fair Use (Affirmative answers to these questions are weighted toward fair use.)

  • Does the new work incorporate the smallest possible portion of the original work necessary to accomplish the desired educational goal?
  • Does the new work avoid duplicating the central essence of the original work?

Con Fair Use (Affirmative answers to these questions are weighted against fair use.)

  • Is most of the work or the entire work reproduced?
  • Does the new work duplicate the central essence of the original work?

FACTOR 4: EFFECT
Pro Fair Use (Affirmative answers to these questions are weighted toward fair use.)

  • Does the user possess a legal copy of the original work?
  • Does the reproduction create little or no effect on the market for the original work?

Con Fair Use (Affirmative answers to these questions are weighted against fair use.)

NOTE: When using a work for educational distribution or class readings (other than for a one time spontaneous use), positive responses to con factors below indicate that a copyright violation is likely to occur.

  • Is the user repeatedly circulating or distributing copies of the original work without obtaining copyright permission?
  • Is any product like the new work marketed by the owner?
  • Is a license for the use of the work or access to the work available for sale?
  • Can the new work be sold in place of the original work?
  • Does the new work diminish the market for the original work?
  • Has the author of the new work purchased any affordable use license or permission?
  • Are a large number of copies reproduced?
  • Is the new work available to the general public?
  • Was the new work used over and over again allowing access to quoted or derived ideas on a large scale?

Owens Library staff members are not lawyers or legal experts. Please consult a legal authority with specific questions.

All quoted material is from the respective source.

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