Fair Use


What is "Fair Use"?

In many countries, certain uses of copyright-protected works do not infringe the copyright owner’s rights. For example, in the United States, copyright rights are limited by the doctrine of "fair use," under which certain uses of copyrighted material for, but not limited to, criticism, commentary, news reporting, teaching, scholarship, or research may be considered fair. U.S. judges determine whether a fair use defense is valid according to four factors, which we’ve listed below for educational purposes. In some other countries, there is a similar concept called "fair dealing" that may be applied differently.
Remember, it is your responsibility to understand the relevant law and whether it protects the use you have in mind. If you plan to use copyrighted material you didn’t create, we'd strongly advise you to take legal advice first. Google cannot provide legal advice or make legal determinations.

The four factors of fair use:

1. The purpose and character of the use, including whether such use is of commercial nature or is for nonprofit educational purposes
Courts typically focus on whether the use is “transformative.” That is, whether it adds new expression or meaning to the original, or whether it merely copies from the original.
2. The nature of the copyrighted work
Using material from primarily factual works is more likely to be fair than using purely fictional works.
3. The amount and substantiality of the portion used in relation to the copyrighted work as a whole
Borrowing small bits of material from an original work is more likely to be considered fair use than borrowing large portions. However, even a small taking may weigh against fair use in some situations if it constitutes the “heart” of the work.
4. The effect of the use upon the potential market for, or value of, the copyrighted work
Uses that harm the copyright owner's ability to profit from his or her original work by serving as a replacement for demand for that work are less likely to be fair uses.

Can Google determine copyright ownership?

No. Google isn’t able to mediate rights ownership disputes.

Can Google determine copyright ownership?

No. Google isn’t able to mediate rights ownership disputes.

What is the difference between copyright and trademark? What about patents??

Copyright is just one form of intellectual property. It is not the same as trademark, which protects brand names, mottos, logos, and other source identifiers from being used by others for certain purposes. It is also different from patent law, which protects inventions.

What is the difference between copyright and privacy?

Just because you appear in a video, image or audio recording does not mean you own the copyright to it. For example, if your friend took a picture of you, she would own the copyright to the image that she took. If your friend, or someone else, uploaded a video, image or recording of you without your permission, and you feel it violates your privacy or safety, you may wish to File a privacy complaint

Q: What is “Fair Use”? Fair use is the right to use copyrighted materials without the copyright owner’s permission. It was designed as an exception to the exclusive rights granted above, permitting limited and reasonable uses without permission as long as they do not prejudice the copyright owner’s rights or interfere with normal exploitation of the work. The classic example of fair use is the quotation from a book being reviewed. Since an author usually does not review his own book, the impact of the quotation on his interests should be minimal. If, however, so much material is quoted that the review will substitute for a purchase of the book, the use will not be considered fair. Thus, fair use is intended to allow the unauthorized use of copyrighted materials for the benefit of society, believing such use serves a higher purpose. But fair use has its limits, too. Specifically, Section 107 of the Copyright Act states that: the fair use of a copyrighted work, including such use by reproduction in copies or phonorecords or by any other means specified by that section, for purposes such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching (including multiple copies for classroom use), scholarship, or research, is not an infringement of copyright. In determining whether the use made of a work in any particular case is a fair use the factors to be considered shall include – (1) the purpose and character of the use, including whether such use is of a 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; and
(4) the effect of the use upon the potential market for or value of the copyrighted work. 17 USC Section 107. http://www.copyright.gov/title17/92chap1.html#107 All four factors (as indicated by the “and” before the last factor) are considered by a court to determine whether a use is fair. The “purpose and character of the use” is considered one of the most important indicators of fair use. Courts determine whether the copyrighted work has been used to create a new work (often referred to as a “transformative use”) instead of simply copied and/or placed into another work.

A court is more likely to find fair use when the “nature” of the copyrighted work used has been published, rather than unpublished. Copyright law recognizes the right of photographers to control the first public appearance of works.

An unauthorized use will more likely be considered a fair use if a small amount or insubstantial portion of the entire work has been used, such as a short quote from a book. While such a “de minimis” use is more difficult with photographs than when copying text, it can occur when the photos are in the background of a video, for example.

When the unauthorized use directly effects and competes with the copyright owner’s business or potential for income, a court will usually find that the use was not a fair use. This is true even when the use is not in an area of business directly competing with the photographer – such as selling sculptures based on a photo. What matters is that the photographer could have made money in that field.

Q: What is public domain?

When a work is not protected by copyright law, it is considered as being in the “public domain” and any one may use the work without permission.

Q: What is a derivative work and who owns the copyright?

A derivative work is one that is based on one or more earlier works. Derivative works include editorial revisions, annotations or other types of modifications. The work must be different enough from the original to be regarded as a new work—in other words, it must contain some substantial, not merely trivial, originality. The threshold for originality in a derivative work is higher than that required for the original work.
The person who creates the derivative owns the copyright to revision, annotation, or other type of modification only. The original copyright is still owned by the original creator. Q: Is copyright violation a crime?

The Copyright Act includes elements of crimes related to copyright. http://www.copyright.gov/title17/92appg.html The government usually prosecutes only the most egregious cases, such as counterfeited goods.