Is It Fair Use?

Frequently Asked Questions

Fair Use under US Copyright Law is concerned with the Character and Purpose of your work, its Nature (whether it's factual or creative), the Amount of the copyrighted work you use, and any potential Market Impact

What if the copyrighted work is just a small amount of my overall project?
The amount of the copyrighted work you use is relevant — it's one of the four primary factors — but the proportion of your project that it makes up is not relevant to courts. This means that you can be held liable for copyright infringement even if your project is 99.9% original. Likewise, a project could be made entirely of copyrighted works and still be Fair Use if it sufficiently transforms their meaning. Your ratio of copyrighted-to-original content does not factor into a Fair Use analysis.

But what if I...?

Put "No Copyright Infringement Intended"?
Saying that you didn't intend to infringe copyright is as useful as saying that you didn't intend to speed. If the material contains copyrighted work owned by someone else, and you intentionally shared it, then as far as the law is concerned, you intentionally committed copyright infringement. No disclaimer will change that.
Credit the creator?
It's always good to give credit, but credit alone (even with a disclaimer stating "All Rights Belong to The Creator") will not save you from an infringement lawsuit or a takedown under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA). Although some copyright owners may be more lenient with enforcement in situations where proper credit is given, it does not grant you any special legal defense.
Am not making any money?
Although profit is one of the four factors that courts consider when analyzing fair use, it is not nearly as determinative as people think. It is possible that a purely commercial work might still be considered Fair Use. In fact, a lot of landmark cases about Fair Use deal with commercial uses. Likewise, it is possible that a purely non-profit work would be considered infringing. Use the Is It Fair Use? tool on this site to help you explore all the relevant factors.
Use only __ minutes/pages/lines?
It's a myth on certain sites — like YouTube — that using only a certain amount of content (typically under 10 minutes) automatically qualifies as Fair Use. Some publishers may have guidelines about the amount of content they authorize you to use, which means you're able to use the material with permission. But if you don't have permission, and are relying on Fair Use, then the amount you used will only be relevant in one of four Fair Use factors. The Is It Fair Use? tool can help you see how the other three factors apply to you as well.

Click here to learn if you are protected by Fair Use