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.Copyright and Fair Use: Fair Use Checklist


Fair Use Checklist

The fillable Fair Use Checklist can be found below. Complete and retain a copy of this checklist for each fair use of a copyrighted work in order to establish a a reasonable and good faith attempt at applying fair use should any dispute regarding such use arise.

For general information about the Fair Use Checklist see the "Introduction to the Fair Use Checklist" box below.

For help completing the Fair Use Checklist see the "Completing the Fair Use Checklist" page.

The Fair Use Checklist is revised for use by Western Oregon University and is based on the "Fair Use Checklist" created by Columbia University's Copyright Advisory Office.

Introduction to the Fair Use Checklist

Fair Use Checklists have been widely used for many years to help educators, librarians, lawyers, and many other users of copyrighted works determine whether their activities are within the limits of fair use under U.S. copyright law. Fair use is determined by a balanced application of four factors set forth in the statute:

(1) the purpose of the use;
(2) the nature of the work used;
(3) the amount and substantiality of the work used; and
(4) the effect of the use upon the potential market for or value of the work used.

Congress and courts have offered some insights into the specific meaning of the factors, and those interpretations are reflected in the details of this form.

Used under a Creative Commons BY license from the Copyright Advisory Office of Columbia University, Kenneth D. Crews, director.

Benefits of the Checklist

A proper use of this checklist should serve two purposes:

1. Using the checklist should help you to focus on factual circumstances that are important in your evaluation of fair use. The meaning and scope of fair use depends on the particular facts of a given situation. Because you are most familiar with your project, you are probably best positioned to evaluate the facts and make the decision.

2. The checklist can provide an important mechanism to document your decision-making process. Maintaining a record of your fair use analysis can be critical for establishing a good faith determination of fair use before using the copyrighted materials. Failure to establish this may subject you to personal liability for copyright infringement and other cause of action. Consider adding to the checklist the current date and notes about your project. Keep completed checklists on file for future reference.

Used under a Creative Commons BY license from the Copyright Advisory Office of Columbia University, Kenneth D. Crews, director.