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New York Tech Returns: What to know about using New York Tech Libraries for Fall 2022. View the latest information

Copyright: Fair Use

What's Copyright and Fair Use? This LibGuide is designed to help the students, faculty and staff understand the difference between fair use and copyright infringement. It offers simplified tables, videos, and even a quiz to test one's copyright knowledge.

What is Fair Use?

The doctrine of fair use allows individuals to make copies of copyrighted work, if the purpose of the reproduction is for one of the following uses (Section 107 of Title 17 of the U.S. Code) :

  1. Criticism

  2. Comment

  3. News reporting

  4. Teaching

  5. Scholarship

  6. Research

DISCLAIMER: Fair Use has limitations!

Fair Use is determined on a case by case basis. If the copyright owner believes that their work has been infringed upon, the accusee may use fair use as their defense. It's ultimately up to the court to determine if it was indeed fair use or copyright infringement


Ask Yourself

Favors Fair Use

Opposes Fair Use 

1.What is the purpose of the use?

Will the material be used for a commercial or   a nonprofit educational purpose?

  • Teaching
  • Personal
  • Research
  • Criticism
  • Commentary
  • News reporting
  • Parody
  • Profit
  • Commercial
  • Entertainment
  • No credit to owner

2. What is the nature of the copyrighted work?


  • Published
  • Fact-based
  • In support of education
  • Unpublished
  • Fiction
  • Creative arts (i.e. dance, music, drama)
  • Designed to be consumable (i.e.  workbooks)

3. How much of the information will be used in   relation to the whole copyrighted work?

  • Small amount
  • Large amount/whole work

4. Will the use of the copyrighted material affect the potential market for, or value, of the copyrighted   work?


  • Few copies reproduced
  • No effect on current or potential market
  • Limited access to: within a class or institution
  • Limited time use (i.e. one semester)
  • Many copies reproduced
  • Impairs current or potential market
  • Competes with original copyrighted work
  • Long term or repeated use
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