Special limitation: Fair use of a copyrighted work

The fair use of a copyrighted work for criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching, including multiple copies for classroom use, scholarship, research, and similar purposes is not an infringement of copyright.[1]

Factors to determine fair use

In determining whether the use made of a work in any particular case is fair use, the factors to be considered include:[2]

  1. The purpose and character of the use, including whether such use is of a commercial nature or is for non-profit educational purposes;[3]
  2. The nature of the copyrighted work;[4]
  3. The amount and substantiality of the portion used in relation to the copyrighted work as a whole;[5] and
  4. The effect of the use upon the potential market for or value of the copyrighted work.[6]

Unpublished work does not bar finding of fair use

The fact that a work is unpublished does not by itself bar a finding of fair use if such finding is made upon consideration of all the above factors.[7]

Best Legal Practices:

Fair use as defense to complainant against copyright infringement – Fair use is often used as a defense against copyright infringement. Due care should be exercised in claiming fair use as it has a strict and narrow definition. It is best to include a notice of fair use whenever the same is the basis for using a copyrighted work.

When in doubt, cite – A good rule of thumb is to cite or make proper attributions when in doubt. As it is said, give credit where it is due.

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[1] Ibid. Section 185.1. “Decompilation, which is understood here to be the reproduction of the code and translation of the forms of the computer program to achieve the inter-operability of an independently created computer program with other programs may also constitute fair use” (Ibid.).

[2] Ibid.

[3] INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY CODE. Section 185.1 (a).

[4] Ibid. Section 185. (b) .

[5] Ibid. Section 185.(c).

[6] Ibid. Section 185.(d).

[7] Ibid. Section 185.2.