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Visual Resources: Copyright & Fair Use

CCA Library Resources

Understanding Fair Use

One of the rights accorded to the owner of copyright is the right to reproduce or to authorize others to reproduce the work--but an important limitation is the doctrine of “fair use.” The doctrine of fair use has developed through a substantial number of court decisions over the years and has been codified in section 107 of the copyright law.

Section 107 also sets out four factors to be considered in determining whether or not a particular use is fair:

  • The purpose and character of the use, including whether such use is of commercial nature or is for nonprofit educational purposes
  • The nature of the copyrighted work
  • The amount and substantiality of the portion used in relation to the copyrighted work as a whole
  • The effect of the use upon the potential market for, or value of, the copyrighted work

 

The Fair Use/Fair Dealing Handbook, by Jonathan Band and Jonathan Gerafi.  policybandwidth, April 2013.

Fair Use Quick Guide

Intellectual property

Creative products and results of intellectual work, including designs, images, symbols, art, and architecture.


Copyright

Legal right of creators to control how their works are used by others. Images may be subject to multiple copyright claims, including claims by artists, photographers, designers, institutions, corporations, or others. The Copyright Term is the period of time a work is covered by copyright. The copyright term is limited by copyright law.


 

Public Domain

When a work is not covered by copyright (because the copyright term has expired, the creator has released the work, or the work was never copyrighted) it is in the public domain. The public then holds the rights to the work.


Fair Use

A provision in copyright law that allows for the use of copyrighted works under some specific circumstances and for particular purposes such as criticism, comment, scholarship, or research. Fair use is determined by the following four factors (from Chapter 1, Section 107 of the Copyright Law):

  • The purpose and character of the use, including whether such use if of commercial nature or is for nonprofit educational purposes

  • The nature of the copyrighted work

  • The amount and substantiality of the portion used in relation to the copyrighted work as a whole

  • The effect of the use upon the potential market for, or value of, the copyrighted work



Open Access

Open Access images are typically images that archives, libraries, museums, or copyright holders have chosen to make available online without restrictions on distribution or reuse. 


License agreements

Contracts between the CCA Libraries and digital content providers that determine how the content can be accessed and used. License agreements are often more restrictive than copyright or fair use laws, and override these other provisions. Terms of Use typically describe how users may use particular databases or resources. An example is ARTstor's Terms and Conditions of Use.