Fair use is an exception to the exclusive protection of copyright under American law. It permits certain limited uses without permission from the author or owner. The law's Fair Use Doctrine addresses educators' need to make copies and share copies of materials with their students. Use the four-factor test to determine fair use of a copyrighted work. Depending on the circumstances, copying may be considered "fair" for purposes such as teaching (including multiple copies for classroom use), scholarship, or research.
To determine whether a specific use under one of these categories is "fair," courts are required to consider the following factors:
17 U.S. Code § 107 spells out four factors to determine if a use is fair. You must weigh each of these factors, no single factor is decisive. The ALA's fair use analysis tool will assist you with weighing the factors and will email you your choices so you'll have a record.
Good Practices for Fair Use Amounts
*Remember, the Fair Use Doctrine does not cover you if you take the "heart" of the work.