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Fair Use


Four Factors

Characteristics in Favor of Fair Use

Characteristics in Favor of Requiring Permission

Purpose and Character of Use

  • Nonprofit
  • Educational
  • Research
  • Criticism
  • Personal
  • Transformative, i.e. new expression or meaning added to original
  • Parody
  • Commercial
  • Original merely copied, no added value or meaning
  • Entertainment
  • Bad-faith behavior

Nature of Copyrighted Work

  • Factual
  • Published
  • Fiction
  • Highly Creative
  • Unpublished

Amount / Substantiality of Work Used

  • Small quantity
  • Not the "heart" of the work
  • Amount is appropriate for favored educational purpose
  • Large portion or whole work used
  • Portion used is central to work or the "heart" of the work

Market Effect of Use

  • User owns lawfully acquired or purchased copy
  • One or few copies made
  • No significant effect on the market or potential market
  • Original is unavailable
  • Lack of licensing mechanism
  • Use competes with (takes away sales from) the original
  • Avoids payment for permission in an established permissions market
  • Numerous copies made
  • Repeated or long term use
  • Made accessible on Web or in other public forum


This chart is adapted from the Columbia University Fair Use Checklist by Kenneth D. Crews and Dwayne K. Buttler, CC-BY 4.0.