Skip to Main Content

University of Portland Clark Library

Ethical Use of Information: Fair Use

Fair Use

Wondering if you can use copyrighted works in an educational setting? The answer is: it depends. You need to evaluate whether your use of a work is considered "fair use." Fair use is part of the Copyright Act and allows for unlicensed use of copyrighted works under certain circumstances. What seems like fair use to an individual may not be the same as the legal understanding of fair use. Learn how to stay within the boundaries of the law by becoming familiar with how fair use is determined. 

Four Factors of Fair Use

When determining if a use is “fair use” it is important to consider the following 4 factors.

1. Purpose and character of the use, including whether the use is of a commercial nature or is for nonprofit educational purposes

2. Nature of the copyrighted work

3. Amount and substantiality of the portion used in relation to the copyrighted work as a whole

4. Effect of the use upon the potential market for or value of the copyrighted work

Best Practices in Fair Use

Fair Use Evaluator

Clark Library Book | 503.943.7111 or 800.841.8261 | 5000 N. Willamette Blvd., Portland, OR 97203-5798
Copyright © University of Portland, All Rights Reserved | Icons made by Freepik from