Fair Use (Section 107)

Fair Use may be available when using materials that are still in copyright. It is a flexible exception that allows socially valuable uses of copyrighted material.

Four factors are balanced to determine fair use:

1. The purpose of the use should be for non-profit education. If that use adds to the original in some creative way (like commenting on a poem or making a parody), the fair use argument is stronger.

2. Nature of the material should be assessed. Factual material is more likely to be allowed under fair use; creative work like music and art gets stronger protection, as does unpublished work.

3. The amount of the original work is only that which is necessary to accomplish the educational purpose.

4. Uses that substitute for purchasing available copies should be avoided; damaging the market for the original counts heavily against fair use.

Fair use applies in many situations, but depends upon a balancing of the factors. Members of the Duke community should seek out a subject librarian with copyright training.  Members of the Duke University Medical Center will find targeted information on copyright via the Medical Center Library and Archives.  Any member of the Duke community may directly schedule a consultation with copyright staff on this topic or send an email directly to copyright-questions@duke.edu. 

Fair Use Resources

For more information about fair use in teaching, see this illustrative use case and discussion of the four fair use factors from the University of Texas.