Fair use is a legal exemption to the exclusive rights of copyright holders. It is determined on a case-by-case basis and is based on a consideration of the following four factors:
- The purpose and character of the use (including whether it is transformative, commercial, non-profit, or educational)
- The nature of the copyrighted work
- The amount and substantiality of the portion to be used
- The effect upon the potential market for the copyrighted work
Because intention is a part of the consideration, only the user can make the initial assessment of whether their use is fair. Cornell University Library provides a guide and checklist to help you in your determination. We strongly recommend that you complete and retain this form for all Fair Use considerations you make.
Fair use rules do not state a concrete maximum of usable material (not a number of words, or a length of time, or a percent of total). Fair use also does not mean that Cornell users can use/distribute any copyright material they want simply because Cornell is an educational non-profit. We are bound by copyright law too!