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Copyright: Fair Use

This guide will provide resources on the topic of copyright.

Go Further: Additional Resources

Podcasts and Webinars


  • Fair Use Index 

    "The goal of the Index is to make the principles and application of fair use more accessible and understandable to the public by presenting a searchable database of court opinions, including by category and type of use (e.g., music, internet/digitization, parody)." Click on "Search Cases" to access the database.

KCTCS On-Demand Professional Development

KCTCS faculty and staff have on-demand access to over 500 professional development sessions through Innovative Educator/Go2Knowledge and Magna Commons. These two repositories provide a robust library of relevant topics including teaching and learning, student success, diversity, safety, management, leadership, and more.

Both repositories can be accessed through Blackboard. They are located in the “Professional Development Repositories” module on the main landing page once you login. These resources can also be accessed from the TLC (Training & Learning) site.

In addition to the on-demand PD, you also have access to live webinars through Innovative Educator/Go2Knowledge. KCTCS employees can register for free. Finally, Magna Campus provides vetted and cutting edge professional development resources on our 20-Minute Mentor Commons and Magna Commons. 

What is Fair Use?

The term "Fair Use" refers to Section 107 of the Copyright Act that allows for some exceptions to the law in certain cases.  These exceptions allow for unlicensed use of portions of an author's copyrighted work within specific parameters. Criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching, scholarship, and research are examples of areas where fair use may be applicable.  The four main factors to determining fair use are as follows.  Note that all of these factors are balanced against one another when determining Fair Use.  Just because one factor is true, does not immediately allow for fair use.

  • The purpose and character.
    • Will the work be used for profit or in a nonprofit capacity
    • Is the use "transformative"? As in, are there new ideas or application of the use being presented to the purpose of the original?
  • The nature of the work being used
    • Is the original source factual or more creative?
  • The amount of the work being used
    • Is a small or large portion of the original work being used?  
  • The effect of the use upon the market for the copyrighted work
    • Does the fair use of a work hinder the market value of the original?

Read more about the Fair Use Doctrine for Educators.

4 Tips to Navigating Copyright Law for Educators - Copyright Alliance


Please review the section "TEACH Act" for more information about using copyrighted media/digital content in the classroom.
Read more about the difference between Fair Use and the TEACH Act at the link below.

Penn State: Fair Use vs. TEACH Act

Fair Use Resources & Tools

Tools and Best Practices

This section of the ACRL Scholarly Communications Toolkit gives a good overview of the topic of Fair Use along with links to many tools and best practices related to the topic.

FAQs regarding Fair Use for Professors

LibGuide of scenarios to help determine fair use, developed by California State University, Long Beach

From the website: "Fair Use/Fair Dealing Week is an annual celebration of the important doctrines of fair use and fair dealing. It is designed to highlight and promote the opportunities presented by fair use and fair dealing, celebrate successful stories, and explain these doctrines."

Fair Use Video from the U.S. Copyright Office