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Modified from Carrie Russell, Complete Copyright: An Everyday Guide for Librarians (American Library Association, 2004). Used by permission.

See section 7 of this guide, “The Fair Use Exemption,” for assistance in interpreting this checklist. An online tool called the Fair Use Evaluator provides an easy-to-use, online version of this checklist. Go to

Fair Use More Likely Fair Use Less Likely
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  • Teaching (including multiple copies for classroom use)
  • Research or scholarship
  • Nonprofit educational institution
  • Criticism or comment
  • News reporting
  • Parody
  • Transformative or productive uses (changes the work for new utility)
  • Restricted access (to students or other appropriate group)
  • Commercial activity
  • Profiting from the use
  • Entertainment
  • Bad-faith behavior
  • Denying credit to original author
  • Published work
  • Factual or nonfiction based
  • Important to favored educational objectives
  • Unpublished work
  • Highly creative work (art, music, novels, films, plays)
  • Fiction
  • Small quantity
  • Portion used is not central or significant to entire work
  • Amount is appropriate to favored educational purpose
  • Large portion or whole work used
  • Portion used is central to work or the “heart of the work”
  • User owns lawfully acquired or purchased copy of original work
  • One or few copies made
  • No significant effect on the market or potential market for copyrighted work
  • No similar product marketed by the copyright holder
  • Lack of licensing mechanism
  • Could replace sale of work
  • Significantly impairs market or potential market for work or derivative
  • Reasonably available licensing mechanism
  • Affordable permission available for using work
  • Numerous copies made
  • You made it accessible on the internet or other public forum
  • Repeated or long-term use