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Research 101

University Copyright Policy

This policy is not intended to act as a substitute for legal advice, and proper legal advice should be obtained when necessary.

Fair Use

This policy is not intended to act as a substitute for legal advice, and proper legal advice should be obtained when necessary.

The provision for "fair use" of a copyright protected work is found in the Copyright Act at Section 107. Under the "fair use" provision, a reproduction of someone else's copyright-protected work may be considered non-infringing if it is used for criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching, scholarship or research. If the reproduction is for one of these purposes, then a determination of "fair use" will be guided by consideration of four non-exclusive factors:

  1. The purpose and character of use (principally, whether for commercial or nonprofit educational use);

  2. The nature of the copyright-protected work;

  3. The amount and substantiality of the portion used; and

  4. The effect of the contemplated use on the potential market for or value of the copyright-protected work.

Likely Fair Use
Copying three pages of a 120 page book and posting it via social media.
If the copied pages are not the "core" of the work in question, a favorable argument for "fair use" exists.

Gray Area - Opinions May Vary
Copying seven pages of a 120 page book and posting it.
The amount exceeds established standards for acceptable amounts by one page (i.e. greater than 5%). However, courts are not bound by established standards and the Copyright Act contains no such standards. Opinions will vary.

Likely a Violation of Copyright
Copying an entire book and posting it
Copying an entire book clearly weighs against a finding of "fair use" as the entire work is used.

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