Check out these online tools and resources that can help you in making a fair use decision.
Fair use is legal protection given to users that allows them to use copyrighted works in certain situations without asking for permission first. Fair use can be used for (but is not limited to) criticism, news reporting, parodies, teaching, scholarship, and research. Watch this video on fair use for more help.
Examples of fair us in the classroom and research:
Just because fair use can protect people in these types of uses doesn't mean that all such uses are protected, however. Instead, fair use must be applied on a case-by-case basis using what are called the four factors:
|Factors||In favor of fair use||Against fair use|
|Purpose/character of the use||
|Nature of the work||
|Amount of work used||
|Market effect on work||
Transformative has really grown as a concept in fair use in the past few decades. The more transformational a use of a copyrighted work is, the more likely courts have been to rule that it meets fair use, even if the other factors weigh against fair use.
No one clear definition of transformative exists, but generally, it's the idea that someone brings new meaning to a work or uses it in a different way than the original creator made it for. For instance, 2 Live Rap Crew's parody of Roy Orbison's song Pretty Woman was found by the U.S. Supreme Court to be transformative because it parodied the original song and therefore a fair use.
What is not transformative is using a work in way that it was originally meant for. This means that using a biology textbook to teach students about the basics of biology is likely not going to be considered transformative.