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Middlesex Campus Library

Middlesex Copyright, Fair Use, and Open Educational Resources


We do not supply legal advice. Please consult an attorney for advice concerning your specific situation.

What is Copyright?

"Copyright is a type of intellectual property that protects original works of authorship as soon as an author fixes the work in a tangible form of expression. In copyright law, there are a lot of different types of works, including paintings, photographs, illustrations, musical compositions, sound recordings, computer programs, books, poems, blog posts, movies, architectural works, plays, and so much more!"

What is Fair Use?

"The fair use of a copyrighted work, including such use by reproduction in copies or phonorecords or by any other means specified by that section, for purposes such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching (including multiple copies for classroom use), scholarship, or research, is not an infringement of copyright." (Limitation on Exclusive Rights: Fair Use)

"Unfortunately, the only way to get a definitive answer on whether a particular use is a fair use is to have it resolved in federal court."

What are the factors that determine if a use is "fair?"

  • Factor 1: The Purpose and Character of the Use​
  • Factor 2: The Nature of the Copyrighted Work​
  • Factor 3: The Amount or Substantiality of the Portion Used​
  • Factor 4: The Effect of the Use on the Potential Market for or Value of the Work