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Using Copyright and Licensed Content: Framework


Framework for assessing fair use
Copyright laws have not formulated rules or listed the activities that are considered as fair use. To facilitate self-assessment case by case, the following framework may help you analysing whether your intended use comes under the fair use.

1. Is the work protected by the copyright laws
a. Is it copyright protected or in public domain
b. If I wrote it, do I still own the copyright, or did I sign over rights for my intended use to the publisher

2. Is there a specific exception in copyright law that covers the work
a. Is my intended use covered by a specific exception to the exclusive rights in the copyright law, such as the one for libraries or classroom performance and displays

3. Is there a license that covers my use?
a. If affiliated with an educational institute, is there a license that governs how copyrighted material that I am accessing through my library can be used
b. Is there a common creative license attached to the work? If so, can I comply with the terms of the license, or can I find another useful work that is CC-Licensed

4. Does fair use cover my use?
a. Purpose and character of use
b. Nature of copyrighted work
c. Amount and substantiality of the portion used in relation to the copyrighted work.
d. Effect on use upon the potential market or value of the copyrighted work.


This resource pack has been created to provide general, practical guidance on copyright matters and cannot be relied upon as a comprehensive legal obligation of individuals on copyright nor a substitute for advice for particular cases or situations. Users are encouraged to seek help by sending an email to