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Copyright & Fair Use  

Guide to information about copyright and fair use, and how to protect and use copyrighted materials.
Last Updated: Apr 23, 2012 URL: Print Guide RSS Updates

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Copyright is a form of protection provided by the laws of the United States (title 17, U. S. Code) to the authors of “original works of authorship,” including literary, dramatic, musical, artistic, and certain other intellectual works. This protection is available to both published and unpublished works.

Moments or purposes where, under the law, using a copyrighted work may be considered fair (section 107). For example, criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching, scholarship, and research. Four factors are to be considered in determining whether or not a particular use is fair:

  • 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

--- United States Copyright Office


Copyright & Fair Use Video: A Fair(y) Use Tale

Do you have questions about copyright?

  • What is copyright?

  • What does copyright cover?

  • Who can legally use copyrighted works, and how?

  • How long is a work protected by copyright?

  • What is the public domain?

  • What is fair use?

Learn about copyright law and fair use by watching this short film created by Professor Eric Faden of Bucknell University.  Please note, this "film  is not associated with, authorized by, or should be confused with any project produced by Walt Disney pictures." 

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 License.  Video by Eric Faden and distributed by the The Media Education Foundation and the Center for Internet and Society (


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