Frequently Asked Questions about Copyright and Fair Use
What is fair use? 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. Fair use allows people other than the copyright owner to copy part or, in some circumstances, all of a copyrighted work, even where the copyright holder has not given permission or objects. How does fair use fit with copyright law? Copyright law embodies a bargain. However, copyright law does not give copyright holders complete control of their works. By carving out a space for creative uses of music, literature, movies, and so on, even while the works are protected by copyright, fair use helps to reduce a tension between copyright law and the First Amendment's guarantee of freedom of expression. How does the court know if a use is fair? Whether a use is fair will depend on the specific facts of the use. These factors are guidelines, and they are not exclusive. What has been recognized as fair use?
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