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Copyright Basics for GW: Fair Use and Permissions

Fair Use

Section 107 of the Copyright Law (Title 17) sets forth certain limitations to the exclusive rights of copyright  holders.  These limitations are called "fair use."  To determine if a use of a work qualifies as fair use, four factors must be considered:

  1. The purpose and character of the use, including whether such use is of commercial nature or is for nonprofit educational purposes
  2. The nature of the copyrighted work
  3. The amount and substantiality of the portion used in relation to the copyrighted work as a whole
  4. The effect of the use upon the potential market for, or value of, the copyrighted work

Fair Use Video

Requesting Permission

If a work is not in the public domain, and you do not in good faith believe your use qualifies for the fair use exemption, you may either chose not to use the material, or you may wish to seek permission to use the work.  The copyright holder may charge a fee for that permission but often for small amounts of the work, such as a table or figure or two, they will not.  Publisher websites will often provide permission information..  The Copyright Clearance Center is a useful central clearinghouse for granting permissions across a wide variety of sources.  Or you may contact the author/copyright holder directly. 

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