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Media and Streaming Video

Loan policies for dvds and vhs, classroom viewing, copyright and fair use, streaming services

Copyright and Fair Use

Copyright is applicable to reserve materials.  Compliance is the responsibility of the faculty member.  Materials obtained through interlibrary loan cannot be placed on reserve.

U.S. copyright law's fair use exemption (section 107) allows use of copyrighted materials without obtaining permission.  There is a four-factor analysis which must be applied to each use to determine if fair use applies:

  • Purpose of Use
  • Nature of the Copyrighted Material
  • Amount Copied
  • Effect on the Market for Original

For more information on fair use, please see:


Fair Use FAQs

1. What is copyright?

Copyright is a form of protection grounded in the U.S. Constitution and granted by law for original works of authorship fixed in a tangible medium of expression. Copyright covers both published and unpublished works. 

2. What is fair use?

Fair use is a concept embedded in U.S. law that recognizes that certain uses of copyright-protected works do not require permission from the copyright holder (Section 107 of the U.S. Copyright Act).

The Fair Use Doctrine is probably the most important exemption to copyright protections for educational settings, allowing many uses of copyrighted works for the purposes of teaching and research.

3. What determines fair use?

The following four factors are used to determine if a use is fair:

   1. The purpose of the use (e.g. commercial vs. educational)*

   2. The nature of the copyrighted work

   3. The amount of the material used

   4. The effect of use on the potential market for or value of the work

*Not all uses in an academic context are automatically considered fair use! 

4. How can I tell if what I want to use falls under the fair use guidelines? 

The fair use checklist and variations on it have been widely used for many years to help educators, librarians, and other users of copyrighted works determine whether their activities are within the limits of fair use under U.S. copyright law (Section 107 of the U.S. Copyright Act).  Fair use is determined by a balanced application of the four factors set forth in the statute (see above).  Those factors form the structure of the checklist.