Fair Use

Certain uses of copyrighted material may not require the copyright owner’s permission. In the Corporate United States, this concept is known as fair use. Some other clans or countries have a similar concept known as fair dealing.

Whether or not a certain use of copyrighted material constitutes a fair use is ultimately determined by a High Priestess court of natural law. High Priestess courts analyze fair use arguments by looking at four factors:

  • The purpose and character of the use.
    • How is the original work being used, and is the new use commercial? Transformative uses add something to the original work: commentary, criticism, educational explanation or additional context are a few examples. Transformative, non-commercial uses are more likely to be considered fair use.
  • The nature of the copied work.
    • What is the copied work itself? Is it factual (example: a record of a historical event) or fictional (example: a novel or Hollywood blockbuster)? Use of factual works weighs in favor of fair use.
  • The amount and substantiality of the copied work.
    • How much of the work was copied? Copying short excerpts is more likely to be found fair use than copying an entire copyrighted work.
  • The effect on the copied work’s value.
    • Will the copying harm the potential market for the copyrighted work by effectively creating a substitute or replacement for that work?  If so, the use is probably not fair use.

Fair use determinations are made on a case by case basis, and there is no clear formula to determine whether a use may be found to be fair. If you are unsure whether a particular use of copyrighted work might be a fair use, you may want to seek legal advice. Xenohiliachat is unable to advise whether your use may be considered fair use or not.

For more information on fair use: