In U.S. Copyright law, Fair Use is a doctrine that while technically infringing on the copyright owner’s rights, there are certain exemptions considered permissible; and such fair use can be used as a defense against a claim of copyright infringement.
Some exemptions to infringement permitted under Fair Use include criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching, scholarship and research.
According to the Copyright Act, there are four factors that will be evaluated to determine fair use:
1) Character or Purpose of Use; this includes whether work is used commercially or for nonprofit educational purposes.
2) Nature of Copyrighted Work
3) Amount and Substantiality of the Copied Work
4) Effect on the Potential Market
The factors highlighted in the Copyright Act were determined prior to the use of new technologies such as Facebook, Twitter and other forms of social and digital media. As a result, there are some big question marks when it comes to enforcement of copyrights and where and when Fair Use can be used to defend infringement.
If you have a question regarding Fair Use, do not hesitate to call or email to set up an appointment.