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Fair Use Checklist


Checklist on Fair Use of Copyright helps you with determining whether the fair use exception applies in light of the four factors.

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Document Description

Fair use means the limited right to use the copyrighted work without the consent of the copyright holder. This implies that if your use of the copyrighted material qualifies as ‘fair use’ then it would not be considered an infringement. Common examples of fair use include research, news reporting, education and commentary. 

To determine whether a use falls in the scope of ‘fair use’, you need to apply all four factors listed below:

  1. the purpose and character of the use, 
  2. nature of the copyrighted work,
  3. the amount and substantiality of the work used in relation to the work as a whole; and
  4. the effect of the use upon the potential market or value of the copyrighted work 

Based on these four factors, the Fair Use Checklist was created to enable the users of copyrighted works to determine whether fair use applies or not. If it applies, then you do not require permission from the copyright holder. 

When do you need the Fair Use checklist?

You need to use the checklist if you intend to rely on ‘fair use’ to use someone else’s copyrighted work. However, this checklist may not be required if the work is not protected by copyright (e.g. copyright expired, work is available in the public domain etc). 

Benefits of Fair Use Checklist

Using the Fair Use Checklist serves two purposes:

(a) it outlines the factual circumstances that should be considered when evaluating the proposed fair use of copyrighted work

(b) it serves as a record of your decision-making process, which establishes good faith in applying fair use if any dispute regarding such use arises. Therefore, it is strongly recommended to keep a record of the completed checklist for future reference.


How to use this Document?

When using this checklist, you might check more than 1 box in each column and even check boxes across columns. 

Once you are done checking the boxes, the ultimate question is whether the cumulative weight of the factors permits or does not permit fair use.

It is recommended to keep a copy of this form in connection with each "fair use" of a copyrighted work 



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