XII. What is Fair Use? Does fair use allow me use copyrighted work for free and without permission?
Fair use is an exception to copyright law that allows for the unauthorized use of copyrighted works for purposes of reporting, commenting on, educating about, or even parodying. Typically, when you’re using unauthorized work under fair use, you’re using an excerpt of a work and giving proper credit while not harming the commercial value of the original work.
gives a clear example of the distinction between infringement and fair use: “Are you reproducing an article from the New York Times because you needed to in order to criticize the quality of the New York Times
, or because you couldn't find time to write your own story, or didn't want your readers to have to register at the New York Times web site? The first is probably fair use, the others probably aren't.”
If you have any questions about how fair use would apply to your work or the benefits and drawbacks of relying on fair use for artists and businesses, feel free to contact New Media Rights via our contact form to find out whether you qualify for free or reduced fee legal services. We also offer competitive full fee legal services on a selective basis. For more information on the services we provide click here.
Frequently asked questions about fair use in copyright law
The contents of this guide were created through support from the CCPF - the California Consumer Protection Foundation