This is the "Fair Use" page of the "Copyright Basics" guide.
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Copyright Basics  

Basic information on copyright and copyright law.
Last Updated: Feb 6, 2015 URL: Print Guide RSS Updates

Fair Use Print Page

History of fair use

Fair use is a judicially created doctrine dating back nearly to the birth of copyright in 18th century England known as fair abridgment. 246 F.3d 152 at 173 (2001)

The English fair abridgment doctrine was never fully recognized by the American courts.  The first articulation of fair use occurred in Flosom v. Marsh, 9 F.Cas. 342 (1841).

In short, we must often in deciding questions of this sort, look to the nature and objects

of the selections made, the quantity and value of the materials used, and the degree in

which the use may prejudice the sale, or diminsh the profits, or supersed the objects, of

the original work


What is fair use?

The Fair Use Doctrine is one of the most important limitations on the exclusive rights of the copyright holder.

It allows that copyright can be infringed because strict application of the law impedes the production and dissemination of works to the public.

The Fair Use Doctrine was added as Section 107 of The Copyright Act of 1976 and was based on a history of judicial decisions that recognized that unauthorized infringements of copyright were "fair uses."

Section 107 is not meant to be specific. Rather, Congress intended for fair use to be determined on a case-by-case basis.

Fair Use should be actively exercised and considered on a case-by-case basis by weighing the four factors of fair use.

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