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Using Copyright and Licensed Content: Copyright & Fair Use

Copyright & Fair Use

Fair use analysis as per US COPYRIGHT LAW

Reproduction and use of content in terms of number of pages, chapters, and articles is not defined under the four factor framework of fair use or fair dealing.

1.      Purpose/ Character of the intended use: 

2.      Nature of the work used

3.      How much of the work used

4.      What effect it will have on the market.

For example, using a small image of a poster to illustrate a timeline is transformative; creating a parody of a song is transformative; scholarly criticism that quotes to illustrate a point is transformative; a model's glossy photo used in a news report is transformative. All of these are examples of cases from USA where commercial uses of an appropriate amount of another's work were found to be fair uses.

To justify fair use, all the four factors needs to be considered.


Favoring Fair Use

  • Teaching (including multiple copies for classroom use)
  • Research
  • Scholarship
  • Nonprofit educational institution
  • Criticism
  • Comment
  • News reporting
  • Transformative or productive use (changes the work for new utility)
  • Restricted access (to students or other appropriate group)
  • Parody


Favoring Fair Use

  • Published Work
  • Factual or nonfiction based
  • Important or favoured educational objectives


Favoring Fair Use

  • Small quantity
  • Portion used is not central or significant to entire work
  • Amount is appropriate for favoured educational purpose


Favoring Fair Use

  • User owns lawfully purchased or acquired
  • One or few copies made
  • No significant effect on the market or potential market for copyrighted work
  • No similar product marketed by the copyright holder
  • Lack of licensing mechanism

For more information on the fair use analysis please visit


Libraries in USA adhere to the following principles to avoid any unintended infringement

1.      Brevity  : a short work or section of a work

2.      Spontaneity : in case of urgency when there is no time to seek  permission

3.      Cumulative: multiple instances of reproduction for multiple course to be avoided. Same item should not be repeated for several years.

4.      Copyright Notice: copying should be replace a textbook or purchase of text books, journal articles. A copyright notice appears on the copy so that students realize that its copyright protected.


Fair dealing exceptions as per UK COPYRIGHT LAW

There is no definitive description of what "Fair Dealing" is, but the UK courts have tended to focus on the economic impact on the copyright owner has been - ie has the use of material under "Fair Dealing" exceeded what may reasonable be considered as "Fair" and resulted in economic loss for the copyright owner. Most of the institutes of higher education either obtain a blanket license or transactional license from Copyright Licensing Agency (CLA) for reproduction

Within the scope of "Fair Dealing" it may be possible to copy short extracts from a work for:

  • private study
  • non-commercial research
  • criticism or review
  • reporting of current events

Before deciding that you can copy under the "Fair Dealing" provision, you would also need to demonstrate that your reasons are geniune and fair.

Fair dealing exceptions as per Indian COPYRIGHT LAW

The legal provision for fair dealing provides that:

The following acts shall not constitute an infringement of copyright, namely:
    • (a) a fair dealing with a literary, dramatic, musical or artistic work for the purposes of —
  • (i) research or private study;
  • (ii) criticism or review, whether of that work or of any other work;
    • (b) a fair dealing with a literary, dramatic, musical or artistic work for the purpose of reporting current events —
  • (i) in a newspaper, magazine or similar periodical or
  • (ii) by broadcast or in a cinematograph film or by means of photographs.

Thus, Indian law allows fair dealing as a defense for specific acts that would not be deemed as infringement for the four specified categories of copyrighted works (viz. literary, dramatic, musical and artistic works).



Compliance for Licensed Electronic Content 

Library negotiates with content providers to include the following rights of use

a. Authorized users for electronic content: Authorized mains an individual who is authorized by the institution to have access to its information services via a secured network and authentication. 

  • Students (All Programmes EPGP, EGMP, EEP (long- term) PGP, FPM, PGPPM, PGSEM, PGPEM
  • Faculty (Permanent, Visiting, Adjunct)
  • Research: FPM, Interns, Research Associate/ Research Assistants
  • Walk in users: Academic interns, Conference/seminar participants, Retired Faculty

Some electronic resources are not open to Walk in users as they require registration with IIMB email ID. 

b. Access and Authentication 

  • Unlimited simultaneous users by secured authenticable access  at  for remote access ( for IIMB community)
  • IP addresses
  • Registration with IIMB email
  • Registration with public keys/codes
  • Single sign-on ( integration of LDAP active directory)

c. Permitted use of licensed contract:

  • Print & save parts of content
  • Use parts of content into electronic or part materials for teaching learning and research
  • Faculty can use of reading lists, handouts, course packs resources as required, for some databases, only links to be posted on Moodle
  • Students can include, extracts of licensed content in their coursework, projects, dissertations & assignments to initiate new argument or to work in a new way
  • Share links to full-text articles with peers on social media or any other communication channel.
  • Publicly display licensed material as a part of a presentation at a seminar, conference, workshop or similar event.

i) Educational purpose :  For the purpose of education, teaching, distance learning, private study and research. 

ii) Commercial: Any use for the purpose of monetary reward by means of sale, resale, transfer or exploitation the licensed contents. Research funded by the commercial organization is deemed as commercial use.

iii) Parts / reasonable content:  Anything that isn’t the whole of the licensed content (database, eBook, ejournal) qualifies as a part. Systematic downloading is prohibited.

d. Not permissible 

  • Selling any part of the resource
  • Making any part of resource available off-campus to anyone other than authorized users
  • Altering or adapting any part of the resource
  • Removing or changing copyright notices or acknowledgments.
  • Making any part of resources publicly available on the internet.
  • Use of the resource for commercial or any other purpose other than educational.
  • Reverse engineering:  Reverse engineering, also called back engineering, is the processes of extracting knowledge or design information from anything man-made and re-producing it or re-producing anything based on the extracted information. The process often involves disassembling something (a mechanical device, electronic component, computer program, or biological, chemical, or organic matter) and analysing its components and workings in detail. ( Source:  Wikipedia accessed on 14th December 2016)
  • Circumventing by altering technology: e.g. removing DRMs and other technology restrictions implemented by provider to restrict access  

Related Pages:  Creative Common License and Authors Rights  |  Using content from the Internet  |  Quiz


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