Skip to main content

Pacific Lutheran University

Inquiry. Service. Leadership. Care.

Copyright & Fair Use: Start Here

Fair Use Checklist

Below is a printable checklist to help you determine fair use.

Can I use a picture decision tree

Fair Use

What is Fair Use?

Fair use provisions of U.S. copyright law allow use of copyrighted materials on a limited basis for specific purposes without the permission of the copyright holder.

Is my use fair? -- The four factor test:

Fair Use Table

It is necessary to weigh all four factors to decide whether a fair use exemption seems to apply to a proposed reuse. Courts take a holistic approach -- they do not simply add up a positive or negative for each factor.

Judges have tended to focus on two questions that collapse the four factors:

  • Does the use transform the material, by using it for a different purpose?
  • Was the amount taken appropriate to the new purpose?

To help support a fair use case for an image:

  • Use lower resolution or thumbnail versions where possible;
  • Place the image in a new context or use it for a new purpose; and
  • Use only the parts of the image needed for the purpose

Information obtained from MIT Libraries and used with permission.


In-depth Information