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Please see the guide on Copyright and Fair Use Basics for a more detailed explanation of copyright, fair use, and what this means to you as a member of the Wofford College community.  Look for the Fair Use Checklist for the easiest way to make sure your project stays within the bounds of copyright law.  Below you can read a quick outline of the four factors that will help you determine fair use.

Fair Use

‚ÄčTo determine if an e-reserve is fair use, consider the character of the use, the nature of the work to be used, the amount used in proportion to the whole and the impact on the market for the work. Librarians and professors balance their own interests with the copyright owners' interests. This summary illustrates ways in which libraries can apply fair use criteria in the development of best practices for e-reserves.

  1. First factor: The character of the use
    • Libraries implement e-reserves systems in support of non-profit education.
  2. Second factor: The nature of the work to be used
    • E-reserve systems include text materials, both factual and creative.
    • They also serve the interests of faculty and students who study music, film, art, and images.
    • Librarians and professors take the character of the materials into consideration in the overall balancing of interests.
  3. Third factor: The amount used
    • Librarians and professors consider the relationship of the amount used to the whole of the copyright owner's work.
    • Because the amount that a faculty member assigns depends on many factors, such as relevance to the teaching objective and the overall amount of material assigned, professors may also consider whether the amount, even the entire work, is appropriate to support the lesson or make the point.
  4. Fourth factor: The effect of the use on the market for or value of the work
    • Many libraries limit e-reserves access to students within the institution or within a particular class or classes. Many use technology to restrict and/or block access to help ensure that only registered students access the content.
    • Libraries generally terminate student access at the end of a relevant term (semester, quarter, or year) or after the student has completed the course.
    • Many e-reserves systems include core and supplemental materials. Limiting e-reserves solely to supplemental readings is not necessary since potential harm to the market is considered regardless of the status of the material.
    • Libraries may determine that if the first three factors show that a use is clearly fair, the fourth factor does not weigh as heavily.
Adapted from ALA