What is copyright?
Copyright promotes creativity by protecting the rights of creators while providing limits on those rights. Who would write a book if anyone could reproduce it, distribute it, make derivative works from it, or publicly perform or display it? However, there are limitations to copyright, such as the right of fair use.
Fair use is a legal defense, not a protection from lawsuits. It is flexible to allow for interpretation and emerging technologies. For an informative and entertaining look at Fair Use, watch the video A Fair(y) Use Tale. You can also learn more by reading the Visual Resources Association: Statement on the Fair Use of Images for Teaching, Research, and Study.
Fair use is based on four factors.
- The purpose and character of the use, including whether such use is of a commercial nature or is for nonprofit educational purposes. Fair use often, but not always, favors nonprofit educational uses over commercial uses.
- The nature of the copyrighted work. Factual works are more likely to be fair use than fictional or artistic works; unpublished works are more protected than published works.
- The amount and substantiality of the portion used in relation to the copyrighted work as a whole. There is no 10% rule in copyright law. That’s simply a guideline used by some. Amount is measured both quantitatively and qualitatively. Using a small amount may be too much if it is the heart of the work.
- The effect of the use upon the potential market for or value of the copyrighted work.
PNWU Copyright Policy
A resource for PNWU students, faculty, and staff.
Copyright Clearance Center (CCC) RightFind
Verify copyright permissions for journal articles or books covered by the PNWU academic license.
CCC Annual Copyright License
Brief overview of the annual license for academic institutions.
Requesting Permission from a Copyright Owner
Guidelines on how to contact and request permission to use a copyrighted work. Includes templates for correspondence. Information provided courtesy of Dr. Kenneth D. Crews (formerly of Columbia University).
UC Copyright Education Web Site
A resource for the University of California community. An excellent resource with information on fair use, public domain, classroom use, and more.
Special Note about Online Resources
Our licensed online resources; e.g., databases and eJournals, fall under contract law. Uses that are permitted by copyright law or fair use may differ from those permitted by a license agreement. For specific questions related to the use of any of our licensed resources, please contact the library.