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Copyright: What is Fair Use and how can it help me?

Basic copyright information for faculty, staff, and students of Texas State University.

Fair Use Factors

Four factors are considered in all fair use evaluations:

  • Purpose and character of the use - how are you using the borrowed work?
  • Nature of the work - what kind of work are you borrowing?
  • Amount/substantiality of the work - how much are you borrowing and are you borrowing the most important part?
  • Impact on market (or potential market) - is your use of the work a substitute for purchasing or licensing it?

These four factors are not meant to be exclusive and must be examined jointly.

Texas State Fair Use Checklist

Best practices

Under the right to fair use, you can use someone else's work without asking permission.

Here are some general guidelines for research/teaching.

Best practice for distributing copies:

  • If you need to use an article or a chapter in your course, link to University Libraries content from your course site
  • If University Libraries does not subscribe to or own the material, request the Copyright Office purchase a license for you to upload a copy to your course site.
  • Provide a copyright notice on the first page of the copied material with the warning not to share outside of class

Best practice for online sources:

  • Link rather than upload. You can embed videos, but not images.
  • Use free to share or Creative Commons licensed material when possible. If using copyrighted images and graphics (including cartoons and PowerPoints), request permissions from the creator.

Other Resources for Educators and Librarians

Relevant federal statutes


Legal Disclaimer

This guide is designed to share information on copyright and related topics. This guide does not supply legal advice nor is it intended to replace the advice of legal counsel.