We’ve heard of talk of fair use in the context of downloading, sharing and performing of copyrighted works. What’s it all about? How are ordinary consumers affected? It’s good if we know our rights as consumers, and it’s also good for creators of content, art or music to acknowledge fair use.
Fair use is a doctrine in United States copyright law that allows limited use of copyrighted material without requiring permission from the rights holders, such as use for scholarship or review. It provides for the legal, non-licensed citation or incorporation of copyrighted material in another author’s work under a four-factor balancing test. It is based on free speech rights provided by the First Amendment to the United States Constitution. The term “fair use” is unique to the United States; a similar principle, fair dealing, exists in some other common law jurisdictions.