What Should I Know About the Fair Use Law?

Contact UsAsk A Free Legal Question

wooden gavel books

You may assume that your copyright registration offers automatic and unlimited protection over your creative work. However, there may be exceptions granted by United States Copyright Law. Namely, there is the accepted concept of fair use. Read on to discover more about the fair use law and how a seasoned New Jersey copyright lawyer at The Ingber Law Firm can help you understand how it might affect your copyrighted material.

What should I know about fair use under copyright law?

By definition, United States copyright law holds that fair use is a doctrine that allows limited use of copyrighted material without requiring permission from the copyright holder. More specifically, this concept may allow for commentary, criticism, news reporting, research, teaching, or scholarship without necessarily infringing upon the copyright holder’s rights.

All in all, the fair use doctrine is intended to promote the values of free speech, creativity, and innovation. This is so that a copyright holder’s rights do not suppress or hinder the progress of art, literature, education, and social discourse in the United States.

How might this law affect my copyrighted material?

You must understand that fair use law does not establish absolute rights. Rather, this doctrine is subject to interpretation and is therefore handled on a case-by-case basis. But generally speaking, there are four factors you may want to consider when determining whether fair use law will impact your copyrighted material. This is primarily so you may brace yourself for having to take any legal action in the future. Without further ado, the four factors of fair use read as follows:

  • The purpose and character of the use: this examines whether the use of your copyrighted material is transformative, adds new meaning, or provides a different context than yours.
  • The nature of the copyrighted material: this examines whether the use of your copyrighted material is creative enough, original enough, or has significant factual content.
  • The extent of the copyrighted material used: this examines whether a large/significant or small/insignificant portion of your copyrighted material was used.
  • The impact on the mark or potential value: this examines whether the use of your copyrighted material can harm the existing or future market for yours.

On the other side of the coin, you must always fulfill your due diligence before using the copyrighted material of a copyright holder. In other words, you must always review these four factors first to avoid having a valid copyright infringement claim filed against you.

In a way, the best thing you can do for yourself is to let a competent Essex County, New Jersey intellectual property lawyer help you. So please, as soon as you are ready, get in touch with us at The Ingber Law Firm.