Fair Use Guidelines

Fair use is a doctrine that permits educators and students to use copyrighted work in a fair and responsible manner. All of the four factors of fair use must be met in order to use a copyrighted work. The four factors of fair use tell us whether or not we can use a work:

- Purpose and Character of Use: The purpose should be educational or non-profit.
- Nature of the Copyrighted Work: The work is factual and is unpublished.
- Amount of Work to be Used: Using a small amount of the work and not all of it (e.g. a paragraph from a book, an excerpt from a poem, thirty seconds of a song)
- Effect of use on the Market/Value of the Work: Using the ork does not deprive the creator or entity holding the copyright of any sales/does not affect profit.

For more information about fair use guidelines please review the video below.

Guidelines for copying materials (Scheeren, 2010)

  • Do you have permission from the copyright holder to copy? If the answer is yes, proceed. If it is no, you may not copy
  • Is the material in the public domain? If yes, you may copy. If no, you may not copy.
  • Does the material fall under the fair use guidelines? If yes, you may copy. If no, you may not.


  • Scheeren, W. O. (2010). Technology for the school librarian, Santa Barbara, CA: Libraries Unlimited.