The following is a list of rules of thumb for
your use in determining how you may incorporate digital, visual,
and textual material from and onto the Internet, and, in turn, how
others may or may not use your online material. This is a complicated
subject. Our aim here is to adapt those segments most applicable
to your own requirements with a basic, practical approach. While
we point out some of the potential risks of incorporating material
from and onto the Web, it is above all our intent to encourage you
to take advantage of the wealth of material available to you in
the electronic environment.
First, what is fair use? Although there
is no simple test to determine what fair use is, the Copyright
Act sets forth four fair use factors to determine
whether use is indeed "fair." They are:
- the purpose and
character of the use, including whether such use is of a commercial
nature or is for nonprofit educational purposes
- the nature of the
- the amount and substantiality
of the portion used in relation to the copyrighted work as a whole
- the effect of the
use upon the potential market for or value of the copyrighted
We strongly urge you to look at our detailed
explanation of the four factors in our section on Fair
Use Factors in Detail.
have divided our guidelines in the following way:
rules of thumb
of thumb for text
of thumb for images
of thumb for multimedia
of thumb for music
and Case Law \ Fair use factors
We will try to keep this document a work in
progress by amending it from time to time (last updated 9/1/04).
Any new information you come upon that will help to delete or add
to the above is always welcome. If you have specific questions,
you may also consult the American
Library Association's new Copyright
Advisory Network, where you may post questions directly to their
Forums and get answers right away.
Our rules of thumb
(aka FAQs--frequently asked questions) are intended as a practical
reference guide. As stated above, copyright and intellectual property
rights law is complex and often ambiguous. We urge you to check
the attached bibliography and/or seek legal advice for your specific
circumstances. We will help guide you in the right direction with
your special requests. However--here is our friendly disclaimer--the
information provided here is for informational purposes only. Intellectual
property and copyright are continually debated in Congress, and
new legislation may change practical recommendations at any time.
Common sense and conventional wisdom do not necessarily have the
force of law behind them, but may be used as practical guidelines.
The views and opinions expressed do not necessarily represent those
of the University of California. The
following guidelines are provided for educational purposes and should
not be construed as legal advice.
Maureen Burns, Curator, Visual Resources Collection
Barbara Cohen, Director, HumaniTech