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Bruin Success with Less Stress

7. Fair Use

FrankensteinScientistCarlos is in his history of science class. The professor shows a short clip of Mel Brooks's film Young Frankenstein. Then the class discusses this week's reading, which Carlos got by checking out the copy that was placed on reserve at the library. Didn't we just say that we couldn't legally do stuff like this?

Fair Use

Although the creator of a work usually must grant permission or get paid if someone wants to use or copy his or her work, there are exceptions.

The courts consider all four of the following factors when deciding whether or not something is to be considered fair use.

  1. noncommercial, nonprofit, or educational purposes
  2. "the nature of the copyrighted work"—for example, if the owner of the copyright intended the work to be photocopied or otherwise duplicated
  3. "the amount and substantiality of the portion used in relation to the copyrighted work as a whole"—for example, copying one page probably isn't OK if what you're copying is a one-page pamphlet
  4. "the effect of the use upon the potential market for or value of the copyrighted work"—this means, you do not take away profit from the copyright holder

(17 USC 107)

For more information on fair use, see the US Copyright Office explanation or watch this video.

For more information on copyright and reserves, see UCLA Library Copyright Policy.