Evaluating Fair Use

Fair Use Week day four!

Hopefully you’ve enjoyed some of the fair use resources we’ve shared this week. If you are ready to look at a specific use to determine if it would be considered fair, there are lots of resources available to help you walk through that process.

The Fair Use Evaluator is really great if you are new to doing fair use evaluations. This tool will provide education about fair use along with a walk through of the four factors in a fair use evaluation. The Fair Use Evaluator also offers the option of publishing a time-stamped PDF of your evaluation. This could be really useful if you ever had a copyright owner question your use.

I also really like the Fair Use Checklist developed at Columbia University by Kenneth Crews and Dwayne Buttler. The checklist is great if you’ve done fair use evaluations before but want a reminder about the different issues you need to consider.

Finally, I’ll point you to our own fair use resource – the four factor test. This test was developed by Georgia Harper and is another example of a tool that is good to use if you feel relatively comfortable with fair use, but need to be reminded of all the issues to consider.

Just remember, a fair use evaluation isn’t about getting to a yes or no answer; it’s a risk evaluation. Reasonable people may disagree about whether to move forward with a particular use based on their level of comfort with risk. Some folks have no tolerance for risk and others are comfortable with high levels of risk. The important thing is to be honest in your evaluation and feel comfortable in explaining your decision to someone else.