What is “Fair Use” in Copyright?

Under US Copyright Law, you may use portions of a copyrighted work as long as that use is deemed “fair.” The fair use exemption lays out four factors that must be weighed in order for you to determine whether your use is fair.

  1. The purpose and character of the use
  2. The nature of the copyrighted work
  3. The amount and substantiality of the work
  4. The effect of the use on the potential market for or the value of the work

For more information on copyright, publishing and intellectual property, see the Copyright at UCSF Guide.

For a fair use checklist in the guide that will walk you through the fair use analysis, see the Fair Use Checklist.

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