This week, the DePaul University Library invites you to join colleagues across the United States and Canada in celebrating Fair Use/Fair Dealing Week (February 22 – 26, 2016).
“Fair use,” according to the U.S. Copyright Office, “is a legal doctrine that promotes freedom of expression by permitting the unlicensed use of copyright-protected works in certain circumstances . . . . [including] criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching, scholarship, and research.” For those of us in higher education who depend on the ability to make fair use of copyrighted materials in our teaching, learning, and scholarship, the fair use doctrine is an essential component of the broader construction of copyrights and an area of intellectual property law in which we have a clear stake. Creators, scholars, librarians, and others have come together regularly to discuss the critical importance of continued support for fair use in the digital age, and one example of the value of that collaboration can be seen in the Code of Best Practice for Fair Use in the Visual Arts, adopted earlier this month by the College Art Association, with endorsements from the American Library Association, the Association of Art Museum Curators, the Association of College & Research Libraries, the Society of Architectural Historians, and others.
For many of us in higher education, our first experiences with thinking about the “four factors” of fair use may have been in determining what materials can be placed on reserve for our classes or made available through an online learning platform such as D2L. More recently, we have seen students engaging the issue of fair use as they consider how they might “remix” selections from copyrighted materials into their own academic work. The Association of Research Libraries has prepared an infographic that documents “Fair Use in a Day in the Life of a College Student” showing how the flexibility ensured by the Fair Use Doctrine promotes access to information and the freedom to create essential to academic success and engagement with information for a lifetime.
The DePaul University Library provides information on copyright and fair use as part of its Scholarly Publishing Services, and faculty and students with questions regarding fair use of licensed resources and copyrighted materials are may also contact their liaison librarian for assistance. The Association of Research Libraries has prepared an infographic on the fundamentals of the fair use doctrine, and makes additional resources available through its collection of resources on fair use.