What is Fair Use?

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Fair Use are exceptions to copyright law that permit the limited use of portions of a work without the copyright owner’s permission for purposes such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching, scholarship, or research.

Copyright practices at AUS are based on the Fair Use provisions of the United States Copyright Act. Section 107 of this Act permits the making of multiple copies of copyrighted works for classroom use in some cases. 

AUS also adheres to fair use-type exceptions detailed in Article 22 of UAE Federal Decree-Law No. 38 (2021). These include the following clauses:

Clause 1. Reproducing one copy of a work for personal (non-profit, non-professional) use. This excludes works of fine or applied art, and works of architecture in public places. It also excludes computer programs, apps, and databases unless pursuant to clause 2.

Clause 4. Making a single copy of the work by a non-profit archive, library or authentication office in order to: (a) preserve the original copy or the replace a lost, damaged, or unusable original, if a replacement is impossible to obtain under reasonable conditions; (b) respond to a request from someone wishing to use the copy for study or research, provided this is done just one or on separate occasions, in cases where a reproduction license was impossible to obtain.

Clause 5. Quoting short paragraphs, excerpts, or analyses for the purpose of criticism, discussion or information, provided the source is cited.

Acknowledging the source of the copyrighted material (i.e. citing) is not a substitution for obtaining permission.

Four Factors for Determining Fair Use

The United States Copyright Act of 1976 identifies four factors for determining fair use:

  1. The purpose and character of the use.
  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.

All four factors must be considered equally. More details on how these four factors evaluate a question of fair use can be found on the U.S. Copyright Office website. You can also use Columbia University’s Fair Use Checklist