Thinking Through Fair Use
Even after you've fully educated yourself about fair use (the information on our site is just a start), it can be difficult to remember all the relevant issues when you're looking at a potential use you'd like to make. We've developed one tool that may assist you in your thought process. The Office for Information Technology Policy of the American Library Association also steps you through the process with a similar interactive tool.
How to Use This Tool
Fair use is very context-dependent, so each user has to assess fair use independently, for each use.. You may find it helpful to consult with an attorney or other specialist for further input. This form does not substitute for such consultation.
This tool can help you organize your thoughts around the issues, although it does NOT tell you whether a proposed use is fair or not, and does NOT provide any kind of legal advice. It simply helps you structure your own reflections about the fair use factors, and provides a record that you did consider relevant issues. No computer processes your form - the end result is only a printable record of what you entered.
Remember that no single factor is decisive of fair use, and on any given factor, you may find that some aspects of your proposed use fall in the "favors fair use" column, while others simultaneously "weigh against" fair use. There also may be other relevant considerations that do not appear in this general-purpose tool! Many considerations are relevant, and only by looking at the whole picture, across all the issues, can you make a reasonable guess about whether your use is fair or not.
Many elements of this tool adapted with permission from the Columbia University Libraries Copyright Advisory Office Fair Use Checklist
This web site presents information about copyright law. The University Libraries make every effort to assure the accuracy of this information but do not offer it as counsel or legal advice. Consult an attorney for advice concerning your specific situation.