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Copyright Resources for Faculty: Fair Use

Fair Use Definition

The Fair Use Doctrine allows for some copyrighted material to be used in education settings, with some restrictions. Section 107 of the U.S. Copyright Act allows a determination to be made along 4 factors: (1) the purpose of the use; (2) the nature of the work used; (3) the amount and substantiality of the work used; and (4) the effect of the use upon the potential market for or value of the work used.

This determination must be made each time one wants to use a copyrighted work in a class. See the Resources box below for a link to tool to help you make your own Fair Use determination.

Fair Use Resources

Scanning Request Form

Our Resource Sharing department will scan portions of a book/text for Canvas as long as the Library or faculty member owns a copy of the work. Complete the online form to make your request.

The Library will not scan any resource requested through OhioLink.

Fair Use Summary Chart


Favoring Fair Use

Opposing Fair Use

Purpose & character of the use

-Nonprofit institution

-Education & teaching

-Research or scholarship

-Criticism or comment

-News reporting

-Transformative or productive use



-For-profit institution

-Commercial - Entertainment

-Bad faith behavior is involved

-Denying credit to the original author

Nature of the work


-Factual or non-fiction

-Use important to instructional objectives


-Highly creative, imaginative work (artwork, graphics, music, novels, plays, commercial movies)


Amount used & substantiality of the portion used (portion used in relation to the whole)

-Small quantity used

-Portion used is not central to the work (not the “heart of the work”)

-Amount used is appropriate for the educational purpose

-A large portion or the entire work is used

-The portion used is central to the work or it is the “heart of the work”

Effect of the use on the market

-User owns a lawfully acquired or purchased copy of the work

-One or a few copies are made

-Use has no significant effect on the market or potential market of the work

-There is no similar product marketed by the copyright holder

-There is no licensing mechanism

-Use could replace the sale of the work

-Use impairs the market or potential market for the work

-There is a licensing mechanism or affordable permission available for the work

-Numerous copies are made

-Work is made available via the Internet

-There is repeated or long- term use