Module 2: Fair Use, and Other Exemptions (Allowances) For Using Materials Protected by Copyright Without Permission


This module will teach you about FAIR USE and other important sections (exemptions) of the copyright law—how they function to achieve a workable balance between public interest and individual ownership rights and how you can apply your working knowledge to specific situations.

Remember the explanation in Module 1:

“the purpose of copyright is not so much to protect the interests of the authors/creators, but rather to promote the progress of science and the useful arts—that is—knowledge. To accomplish this purpose, copyright ownership encourages authors/creators in their efforts by granting them a temporary monopoly, ownership of exclusive rights for a specified length of time. However, this monopoly (exclusive ownership) is somewhat limited when it conflicts with an overriding public interest, such as encouraging new creative and intellectual works, or the necessity for some members of the public to make a single copy of a work for non profit educational purposes.”

In this module you will learn that, in some circumstances, limiting of the exclusive rights of the copyright owner allows for certain specific uses of material protected by copyright without the copyright owner’s permission.

Here are the objectives for this module:

  1. Understand and explain the purpose of Fair Use.
  2. Identify and explain the four factors of Fair Use.
  3. Practice completing the Checklist for Fair Use and making Fair Use decisions.
  4. Familiarize yourself with other copyright exemptions such as Sections 108—Reproductions by Libraries and Archives and 110— Exemption of certain [classroom] performances and displays.

The following sections A, B, and C explain some of the more important legal copyright exemptions (a privilege to use works protected by copyright without permission). In effect, these exemptions allow certain specific uses of works protected by copyright without seeking the copyright owner’s permission. These exemptions apply only if your particular situation has met all of the specific requirements of each exemption.

Back / Next