Fair Use and the four factors

Below is the four factor fair test used by lawmakers in determining what is fair use.

Four Factor Fair Use Test

Another approach to determining fair use is what is commonly called “the four factor fair use test,” which offers guidelines in terms of the four questions below. If you want to know more about the four factor test, I suggest consulting the University of Texas’s site devoted to this topic, which offers far more detail than I provide here:

  • What is the character of the use? Non-profit, educational use is better (that is, less apt to raise legal red flags) than commercial use.
  • What is the nature of the work to be used? Factual, published material is better than imaginative, creative work.
  • How much of the work will you use? As obvious as this might sound, a small amount is better than more than a large amount.
  • If this kind of use were widespread, what effect would it have on the market for the original? The less your use of the material competes with or takes away from sales, the better.

What I was interested in finding out was how much of a song can I use in my digital story.  What I found is that I can use up to 10% of a song or 30 seconds. This suits me as I only wanted to record part of a riff from John Mayers “Heart Break Warfare” song.

I found this really cool resource for citing works…http://citationmachine.net/

Category: W13: Copyright
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2 Responses
  1. jlapple says:

    This breakdown is so helpful, especially as a starting point for understanding the context of copyright law. These four points seem to address the overacrching themes related to copyright law and give a good frame of reference for checking your work against these standards and to stay safely within “legal limits”

  2. mplumb says:

    I agree. I also found the four factor test extremely helpful when thinking about the impact of copyright on my own digital story. As confusing as copyright can be, at least it does seem that fair use at least offers creativity for educational purposes a great deal of protection.