Skip to main content

Scholarly Communication: Copyright & Fair Use: Home

What is Fair Use?

Fair use is a free speech right!

Fair use is a necessary tool for UC Berkeley students, faculty, and staff to do our work

From the Electronic Freedom Frontier (EFF) FAQ on Fair Use

Fair use is "a limitation on the exclusive rights of copyright holders. The Copyright Act gives copyright holders the exclusive right to reproduce works for a limited time period. Fair use is a limitation on this right. A use which is considered 'fair' does not infringe copyright, even if it involves one of the exclusive rights of copyright holders. Fair use allows consumers to make a copy of part or all of a copyrighted work, even where the copyright holder has not given permission or objects to your use of the work."

In Academia

Fair Use is particularly important in academic settings where students, faculty, and researchers are able to legally incorporate copyrighted materials, without permission from the author (but with attribution) in slide shows, book reviews, and classroom lectures.

To learn more about when Fair Use allows you to use copyrighted material without permission from the copyright holder, check out:

What is Copyright?

Copyright is a form of protection provided by the laws of the United States to the creators of "original works of authorship" …. This protection is available to both published and unpublished works … [and] generally gives the owner of copyright the exclusive right to do and to authorize others to reproduce the work in copies; to prepare derivative works based upon the work; to distribute copies; and to perform and display the work publicly.  (From the U.S. Copyright Office)

This page provides references to sources related to copyright in higher education for both creators of scholarly information and users; the site is not intended to serve as legal advice.

For Consumers and Users: Copyright in Teaching and Research

For users of copyrighted material

Teaching: How do you legally share scholarly works with your students and colleagues?

  • Know your Copy Rights: Produced by the Association of Research Libraries, this page links to several versions of a brochure that provides tips for faculty and teaching assistants in higher education. Offers Includes information on Fair Use and uses permitted by licenses.

Research: How do you incorporate copyrighted material into your scholarship?

A Fair(y) Use Tale

By Documentary Film Program, 2007
Professor Eric Faden of Bucknell University created this humorous, yet informative, review of copyright principles delivered through the words of the very folks we can thank for nearly endless copyright terms.  Distributed on DVD 
by The Media Education Foundation.

Fiat Lux

from the Blue & Gold, 1922


University of California | Copyright  (from UC Office of the President)

Copyright and Fair Use (From Stanford University Libraries)

Copyright Basics (PDF) (From the U.S. Copyright Office)

Copyright Basics (from the Columbia University Libraries/Copyright Advisory Office)

Copyright Resources on the Web (from the March 2007 issue of C&RL News)

Copyright © 2014-2016 The Regents of the University of California. All rights reserved. Except where otherwise noted, this work is subject to a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 4.0 License.