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Fair use

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Fair use is an exception to the unlawful use of copyrighted material. Fair use permits use of a copyrighted work, without the consent of the copyright owner, for such purposes as education, commentary and criticism. Avoiding licensing can bring enormous savings of both time and money. Fair use does not allow unrestricted use and is limited to certain circumstances and kinds of use. A license may be preferred even where fair use may be available.

Traditionally there has been a 4-part test to determine whether an unlicenced use or taking of a copyrighted work qualifies for fair use:

1. The purpose and character of the use (i.e., commercial vs. educational)

2. The nature of the copyrighted work (i.e., imaginative vs. factual)

3. The proportion of the work taken in relation to its entirety (small vs. large)

4. The effect of the taking on the market for the original (small vs. large)

The factors are weighed to determine the outcome. The four-part test is the prevailing standard for proving fair use, but can be difficult to apply. More recently the use of the fair use test has been complemented by applying a simpler test known as the "artifact" or "feel good" test. It essentially limits 'fair use' of copyrighted material insofar as the audience is not entertained by it.

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See Also

Intellectual Property Copyright


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