Bellsouth vs. Donnelley
Burrow-Giles Lithographic Co. v. Sarony
Copyright Code—A Linked Index
Feist Publications vs.
versus Southern Building Code Congress International Inc.,
International v. Meredith Corporation
Trade-Mark Cases, 100
U.S. 82 (1879)
Constitution, Article 1, Section 8
Information on this site cannot
be considered legal advice. If you need legal advice on copyright, please
consult an attorney or refer to one or more of the sponsor links on the
side of the page. Another place you might look is the US Copyright Office
The copyright information on
this site applies to U.S. Copyright, unless otherwise stated.
To ease the conflict between scholarly
growth and the copyright owner's rights, the law includes a right of
"fair use" which allows limited copying without
The limits of fair use are not well defined, intentionally left
so by Congress. While fair use is very applicable to scholarship and research, it may also be applied in other applications where the use of pre-existing and copyrighted materials is appropriate.
Fair use is a privilege that is also a source of confusion. The
statute is deliberately ambiguous, fair use depending on each case's
circumstances. Four factors are considered:
- Purpose of the use, including
non-profit educational use
- Nature of the copyrighted work
- Amount of
- Effect of the copying on the
potential market for, or value of, the original work
Most universities and libraries have fair use policies
for activities such as copying materials for research or for
classes. Few guidelines exist for fair use of materials in other
environments, such as genealogy, business presentations or training.
Legal challenges to the fair use of materials in such situations is
not often seen in court and the costs of litigation and attorney
fees would often be prohibitive. However, it is very
conceivable that businesses where copyright infringement occurs
could be a tempting target for infringement suits.
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