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Copyright: Fair Use

Copyright Basics

Definition

"Fair use" is the doctrine that allows for small portions of a work to be used in total without permission.

"...fair use of a copyrighted work, including such use by reproduction in copies or phonorecords or by any other means specified by that section, for purposes such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching (including multiple copies for classroom use), scholarship, or research, is not an infringement of copyright. In determining whether the use made of a work in any particular case is a fair use the factors to be considered shall include—

(1) the purpose and character of the use, including whether such use is of a commercial nature or is for nonprofit educational purposes;
(2) the nature of the copyrighted work;
(3) the amount and substantiality of the portion used in relation to the copyrighted work as a whole; and
(4) the effect of the use upon the potential market for or value of the copyrighted work.
The fact that a work is unpublished shall not itself bar a finding of fair use if such finding is made upon consideration of all the above factors."
(U.S. Code § 107 - Limitations on exclusive rights: Fair use)

Amount considered to be fair use

As a general rule of thumb, one chapter or less than 10 % of a work is usually considered a fair amount.