Copyright & Fair Use


Copyright protects works such as poetry, movies, CD-ROMs, video games, videos, plays, paintings, sheet music, recorded music performances, novels, software code, sculptures, photographs, choreography and architectural designs.

To qualify for copyright protection, a work must be "fixed in a tangible medium of expression." This means that the work must exist in some physical form for at least some period of time, no matter how brief. Learn more.

Fair Use

The only guidance for fair use is provided by a set of factors outlined in copyright law. These factors are weighed in each case to determine whether a use qualifies as a fair use. For example, one important factor is whether your use will deprive the copyright owner of income. Unfortunately, weighing the fair use factors is often quite subjective. For this reason, the fair use road map can be tricky to navigate. Read more.

Four Factors of Fair Use

  1. The Transformative Factor: The Purpose and Character of Your Use
  2. The Nature of the Copyrighted Work
  3. The Amount and Substantiality of the Portion Taken
  4. The Effect of the Use Upon the Potential Market