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Use this guide to find information about copyright for WCC faculty.

Fair Use

Fair Use allows limited use of copyrighted material without prior permission from the copyright holder. The two broad categories of fair use are (1) comment or criticism (this includes teaching) and (2) parody. There are four factors that help determine fair use (see below). 

Please note that neither the content on this page nor the resources provided constitute legal advice. 

Fair Use Best Practices


Best Practices:

The Four Factors of Fair Use

"Good Faith" Factors

The courts developed six additional "good faith factors" that make a Fair Use case more convincing to a judge or copyright holder. The first three factors are essential to a "good faith" test. 

  1. Copying by faculty or College employees (that's you)

  2. Solely for educational purposes (your classroom)

  3. Excerpts are fairly short (very important)

  4. Modified with commentary, annotations, etc. (this helps)

  5. Copyright notice included (this helps)

  6. Price for coursepack is no more than copying cost (no commercial benefit)

Courts also consider the Brevity and Spontaneity Rule: You are on your way to class and run across a short excerpt which is on point and would be helpful to the class. You copy it and take it with you to distribute. You can only claim this one time with any certain excerpt.

The Classroom Exception

The Classroom Exception includes the performance and display of works (not reproductions) essential to the functioning of a nonprofit educational institution in a Face-to-Face Classroom Setting.  

Educators and students may perform or display a copyrighted work in the course of face-to-face teaching at a nonprofit educational institution in a classroom or other place normally devoted to instruction. There are no restrictions on the type or length of work, and the copyright holder's permission is not necessary.