*Copyright & Fair Use - Stanford
•A long-standing doctrine that was speciﬁcally!
written into Sec. 107 of the Copyright Act of 1976!
•Allows the use of copyrighted material without!
permission or payment when the beneﬁt to society!
outweighs the cost to the copyright owner. !
•Explicitly allows use of copyrighted materials for !
educational purposes such as criticism, comment, !
news reporting, teaching, scholarship, and!
*Section on fair use from “Copyright in the Classroom:Why Should We Care?” by Amy Hopkins via CC
BASIC RULES*”Five” by woodleywonderworks on Flickr
Rule 1: Are You Creating Something New or
The purpose and character of your intended use of the material involved is
the single most important factor in determining whether a use is a fair use.
The question to ask here is whether you are merely copying someone else's
work verbatim or instead using it to help create something new.
Rule 2: Are You Competing With the
Source You're Copying From?
Without consent, you ordinarily cannot use another person's protected
expression in a way that impairs (or even potentially impairs) the market for
his or her work.!
For example, say Nick, a golf pro, writes a book on how to play golf. He
copies several brilliant paragraphs on putting from a book by Lee Trevino,
one of the greatest putters in golf history. Because Nick intends his book to
compete with and hopefully supplant Trevino's, this use is not a fair use.
Rule 3: Giving the Author Credit Doesn't
Let You Off the Hook
Some people mistakenly believe that they can use any material as long as
they properly give the author credit. Not true. Giving credit and fair use are
completely separate concepts. Either you have the right to use another
author's material under the fair use rule or you don't. The fact that you
attribute the material to the other author doesn't change that.
Rule 4: The More You Take, the Less Fair
Your Use Is Likely to Be
The more material you take, the less likely it is that your use will be a fair
use. As a general rule, never: quote more than a few successive
paragraphs from a book or article, take more than one chart or
diagram, include an illustration or other artwork in a book or newsletter
without the artist's permission, or quote more than one or two lines from a
Contrary to what many people believe, there is no absolute word limit on
fair use. For example, copying 200 words from a work of 300
words wouldn't be fair use. However, copying 2000 words from a work of
500,000 words might be fair. !
It all depends on the circumstances.!
To preserve the free ﬂow of information, authors have more leeway in
using material from factual works (scholarly, technical, and scientiﬁc
works) than to works of fancy such as novels, poems, and plays.
Rule 5: The Quality of the Material Used Is
as Important as the Quantity
The more important the material is to the original work, the less likely your
use of it will be considered a fair use.!
In one famous case, The Nation magazine obtained a copy of Gerald
Ford's memoirs before their publication. In the magazine's article about the
memoirs, only 300 words from Ford's 200,000-word manuscript were
quoted verbatim. The Supreme Court ruled that this was not a fair use
because the material quoted (dealing with the Nixon pardon) was the
"heart of the book ... the most interesting and moving parts of the entire
manuscript," and that pre-publication disclosure of this material would cut
into value or sales of the book.!
In determining whether your intended use of another author's protected
work constitutes a fair use the golden rule: Take from someone else only
what you wouldn't mind someone taking from you.
Some rights reserved by C. Young Photography
Up to 10% or 3 minutes, whichever is less, of a single copyrighted motion
Up to 10% or 1000 words, whichever is less, of a!
single copyrighted work of text
Text Material – Poems!
An entire poem of less than 250 words but no more !
than three poems by one poet, or ﬁve poems by!
different poets from any single anthology.
In poems of greater length:!
up to 250 words but no more than three excerpts!
by a single poet or ﬁve excerpts by different poets!
from a single anthology.
Music, Lyrics, and Music Video!
Illustrations and Photographs
Up to 10% but no more than 30 seconds of music and lyrics from a single
Any alterations to a musical work shall not change the basic melody or
the fundamental character of the work.
A photograph or illustration may be used in its entirety.
No more than 5 images by an artist or photographer.
Not more than 10% or 15 images, whichever is less, from a single
published collected work.
What Is Creative Commons?!
Creative Commons is a nonproﬁt organization that enables the sharing and use of
creativity and knowledge through free legal tools.!
Our free, easy-to-use copyright licenses provide a simple, standardized way to give
the public permission to share and use your creative work — on conditions of your
choice. CC licenses let you easily change your copyright terms from the default of “all
rights reserved” to “some rights reserved.”!
Creative Commons licenses are not an alternative to copyright. They work alongside
copyright and enable you to modify your copyright terms to best suit your needs.
We’ve collaborated with intellectual property experts around the world to ensure that
our licenses work globally.
What Can Creative Commons Do For Me?!
If you want to give people the right to share, use, and even build upon a work you’ve !
created, you should consider publishing under a Creative Commons license. CC
gives you ﬂexibility (for example, you can choose to allow only noncommercial uses)
and protects the people who use your work, so they don’t have to worry about
copyright infringement, as long as they abide by the conditions you have speciﬁed.!
If you’re looking for content that you can freely and legally use, there is a giant pool !
of CC-licensed creativity available to you. There are hundreds of millions of works — !
from songs and videos to scientiﬁc and academic material — available to the public !
for free and legal use under the terms of our copyright licenses, with more being !
contributed every day.
Is your attribution good enough?!
Ask yourself whether an interested viewer/reader/listener/other user is able to
easily discern who gets credit (attribution) for the original work, and the freedoms
associated with that work (license notice). If they can, great! If not, consider
whether you are making a good faith effort to use the licensed work according to
If in doubt, you can try asking the original publisher. They may have already
provided attribution guidelines.
Best practices for marking content with Creative Commons licenses. (users)
One last thing: !
The licenses do not require you to inform a creator that you are using her CC-
licensed work, but it’s a nice thing to do. Most people are very happy to learn that
someone is using and building upon their creations; that’s why they use Creative
Commons licenses in the ﬁrst place.
Examples of notiﬁcation & courtesy
Below are a few examples of notiﬁcation of use via Flickr comments.
Simply click the link and scroll down to my comment:!
•We’re Not in Kansas Anymore!
•The Spiders Create Tightropes From Bulb to Bulb!
The bottom line? People love to know where their work is being used.
Wile E. Coyote?
Sometimes, we do the best
If you were to be shipwrecked
on an uninhabited island,
and you could only have one tool
with you for survival...
...what would you want
that tool to be? *”Naufrage” by H.O.F. Paris // Heaven’s On Fire on Flickr
*”Swiss Army Knife” by GNU2000 via CC on Flickr