Arthur Neef Law Library

Copyright Basics

What is Fair Use?

As previously mentioned each use must be analyzed on a case-by-case basis, but in general, Fair Use protects criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching, scholarship, and research.

There are four factors that must be considered in determining whether or not a particular use is fair. These factors are:

  • 1. The purpose and character of the use
  • 2. The nature of the copyrighted work
  • 3. The amount and substantiality of the portion used
  • 4. The effect of the use on the potential market for the copyright work

For more detail concerning these four factors, as well as assistance in determining whether or not the use is fair, please see our Interactive Fair Use Checklist.


When should I seek permission?

You should seek copyright permission when you intend to use the work for commercial purposes, when you want to use a work in its entirety, or if the use does not comply with Fair Use statutes.

The Wayne State University Library System can help you identify which materials are available through library resources, which materials would require permission to use, and help suggest alternative works that the library system owns. Simply submit your course reading list using our Persistent Link Request form and a librarian will assist you.


How do I obtain permission?

Once you have determined that you need to obtain copyright permission to use a work, search the Copyright Clearance Center at www.copyright.com.

If you would like further assistance, contact your librarian liaison or copyright@wayne.edu.

What is the T.E.A.C.H. Act?

In 2002, Congress passed the Technology, Education, and Copyright Harmonization (T.E.A.C.H.) Act to address copyright concerns in online distance learning and course management systems. Previously, copyright law strictly limited educators’ ability to remain compliant in an online setting. The T.E.A.C.H. Act expands rights in the following ways:

  • • Transmission of performances of the entirety of a non-dramatic literary or musical work
  • • Transmission of reasonable and limited portions of any other performance
  • • Transmission of any work in amounts comparable to typical face-to-face displays

In order to be T.E.A.C.H. Act compliant, there is a formidable list of conditions that must be met by the educational institution. At this time, Wayne State University has not implemented the T.E.A.C.H. Act and WSU faculty are not able to use the act to justify their use of copyright materials within their online instruction.

For more information on the T.E.A.C.H. Act, please see The TEACH Act and some Frequently Asked Questions as prepared by the American Library Association.

How can the library help me?

The Wayne State University Library System has a number of online resources to help you answer your copyright questions. We have developed a Copyright Decision Tree as well as an Interactive Fair Use Checklist to provide you with answers. These resources, and many others, are located on our ©opyright @ Wayne State University site.

Linking to resources that are available to your though the library system is the best way to ensure copyright compliance. When you submit your course reading list using our Persistent Link Request form, a librarian will provide you with persistent links to these resources.

As with any library questions you may have, you can always contact your librarian liaison with any copyright questions. You may also contact copyright@wayne.edu.

Arthur Neef Law Library
474 Ferry Mall
Detroit, MI USA 48202
(313) 577-3925 / 5498 - fax