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Copyright & Music: Fair Use

What Is Fair Use?

"Fair Use" allows the use of copyrighted materials under certain circumstances. Section 107 of the U.S. Copyright law reads as follows:

§107 Limitations on exclusive rights: Fair use

Notwithstanding the provisions of sections 106 and 106A, the fair use of a copyrighted work, including such use by reproduction in copies or phonorecords or by any other means specified by that section, for purposes such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching (including multiple copies for classroom use), scholarship, or research, is not an infringement of copyright. In determining whether the use made of a work in any particular case is a fair use the factors to be considered shall include--

(1) the purpose and character of the use, including whether such use is of a commerical nature or is for nonprofit educational purposes;

(2) the nature of the copyrighted work;

(3) the amount and substantially of the portion used in relation to the copyrighted work as a whole; and

(4) the effect of the use upon the potential market for or value of the copyrighted work.

The fact that a work is unpublished shall not itself bar a finding of fair use if such finding is made upon consideration of all the above factors. 

US Copyright Office Fair Use Cases

A Fair(ly) Use Tale

Created by Prof. Eric Faden, Bucknell University, this video is a clever introduction to copyright and fair use. It's licensed under a Creative Commons license.

Copyright & Fair Use Guides from Universities & Professional Organizations

University of Kentucky
     Copyright Resource Center

University of Kentucky Libraries
     Copyright FAQs

AMS (American Musicological Society)
      Best Practices in the Fair Use of Copyright Materials in Musical Scholarship

ARL (Association of Research Libraries) 
      Code of Best Practices in Fair Use for Academic and Research Libraries

Columbia University Libraries. Copyright Advisory Office
      Fair Use Checklist

MLA (Music Library Association)
      Copyright Site

Stanford University Copyright and Fair Use Guide 
     Chapter 9. Fair Use 
(includes summaries of fair use decisions in music cases)

University of Texas
      Fair Use Guidelines for Educational Multimedia

VRA (Visual Resources Association)
      Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) & Copyright