City College of San Francisco Copyright Information

What is Fair Use?

The concept of “fair use” limits the copyright owner’s exclusive rights to allow fair use of the work for educational, scholarly, and informational purposes. However, every educational use is not fair use. Publishers and the academic community have established a set of educational fair use guidelines to provide "greater certainty and protection” for teachers. While the guidelines are not part of the federal Copyright Act, they are recognized by the Copyright Office and by judges as minimum standards for fair use in education. The educational use guidelines can be found in Circular 21, provided by the Copyright Office.

The four factors commonly used to help determine fair use are:

    1. the purpose and character of your use
    2. the nature of the copyrighted work
    3. the amount and substantiality of the portion taken, and
    4. the effect of the use upon the potential market.

See the University of Texas’s explanation about fair use and how to determine: “Fair Use of Copyrighted Materials”

See Stanford University’s “Copyright Overview and FAQs”

If you are not certain if your materials meet the fair use guidelines, consult with City College of San Francisco’s Dean of Library and Learning Resources.

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