Answered By: Kathryn Park
Last Updated: May 13, 2015     Views: 36

Copyright and Fair Use go together. Briefly, copyright protects the rights of the creators of content, and fair use recognizes that there can sometimes be exceptions for educational purposes.

Copyright laws protect authors, publishers, musicians, artists and others from having their work stolen or misused. Copying a song, a book or an image without permission is not legal. However, like many laws, there are gray areas, which brings us to fair use.

Fair Use
Fair use exceptions were designed with education in mind. Fair use says that as a researcher, you can copy sources for your own use when used for educational purposes--with limits.

Examples of Fair Use

  • A single photocopy of part of a copyrighted work, such as an article from a journal, would probably be considered fair use.
  • Copying a single chapter from a book would also probably be considered fair use.

Examples that are not Fair Use

  • Copying all the assignments from a book recommended for purchase by the instructor.
  • Making multiple copies of articles or book chapters for distribution to classmates.
  • Copying material from workbooks would most likely not be considered fair use.

What about online resources?
You can copy full text articles from the library's databases for your own use. Copying them and distributing them to other people via email, blog or print probably would not be considered fair use. In EBSCO eBooks you can copy a limited number of pages from an eBook--the site limits what you can do.

And one more thing...
This is general information and does not constitute legal advice.

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