Notwithstanding the provisions of sections 106 and 106A, the fair use of a copyrighted work, including such use by reproduction in copies or phono records or by any other means specified by that section, for purposes such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching (including multiple copies for classroom use), scholarship, or research, is not an infringement of copyright. In determining whether the use made of a work in any particular case is a fair use the factors to be considered shall include:
The four factors judges consider are
A final determination on fair use depends on weighing and balancing all four factors against the facts of an individual situation. Consider your own liability for copyright infringement, remember, individuals are liable for their own actions. The distinction between fair use and infringement may be unclear and not easily defined. There is no specific number of words, lines, or notes that may safely be taken without permission.
The use of copyrighted material should be avoided unless the doctrine of fair use would clearly apply to the situation. The Copyright Office can neither determine if a certain use may be considered fair nor advise on possible copyright violations. If there is any doubt, it is advisable to consult an attorney.
You can invoke fair use when the value to the public of what you are saying outweighs the cost to the private owner of the copyright. Fair Use is the right, in some circumstances, to quote copyrighted material without asking permission or paying for it. It is a crucial feature of copyright law. In fact, it is what keeps copyright from being censorship. What many people fail to realize is that just because you can lift a video from the web, it doesn’t mean you have a legal right to use it any way you want for your own purposes, commercial or non-commercial. And if you’re lifting this content from any large business or organization, chances are you may find yourself in a lawsuit!
A number of essential resources can help video producers learn more about their rights. A word to the wise. Fair use is a copyright exception, but that doesn’t mean it is a legally binding contract or a clear rule-book.
Keep in mind that when you buy a CD or DVD or any other recorded media for the matter, you don’t own anything but a shiny silver disk.