Skip to main content

Copyright and Fair Use: Fair Use

What is Fair Use?

Outside of the UT System License, use of copyrighted material is dependent on the concept of Fair Use, Section 107 of the United States Copyright Act. It presumes the use is minimal enough so that it does not interfere with the copyright holder's rights. Fair use is designed to allow use of copyrighted works for research and education and also commentary, parody, and news reporting. 

Public Domain

Public domain refers to works that do not fall under copyright restrictions. 

Three main categories of public domain works:

  • works that automatically enter the public domain upon creation (titles, names, short phrases, slogans, familiar symbols, numbers, ideas and facts, government works)
  • works that have been assigned to public domain by creators
  • works that entered public domain after copyright expired.

Four Factor Fair Use Test

The four fair use factors:

  • What is the character of use?
  • What is the nature of the work to be used?
  • How much of the work will you use?
  • What effect would this use have on the market for the original or for permissions if this use were widespread?

Fair Use Checklist

The Fair Use Checklist provided by Columbia University allows you to determine whether the criteria is met for Fair Use.