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“Fair use,” under United States copyright law, permits extremely limited use of copyrighted material without acquiring permission from the copyright holder. Fair use, while widely cited across the Internet, is often misunderstood.
Section 107 of the United States copyright act contains a list of the various purposes for which the reproduction of a particular work may be considered fair, such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching, scholarship, and research. Section 107 also sets out four factors to be considered in determining whether or not a particular use is fair.
The distinction between fair use and copyright infringement is not well-defined. What one court defines as copyright infringement may be considered fair use by another. One thing is certain: fair use is very limited. Scribd recommends obtaining explicit permission from a copyright holder before reusing any content in an original work, unless the reused content is in the public domain or licensed under Creative Commons.
There are many misconceptions about what is considered fair use, and what the fair use doctrine allows. It is important to remember that fair use does NOT allow:
Scribd does not evaluate claims of fair use, and must rely on the direction of a judge or other appropriate official. You may be liable for monetary damages if you use copyrighted work in a manner that is determined by a court of law to not meet the standard of fair use. Scribd cannot consider fair use claims when processing notifications of copyright infringement pursuant to the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA), however you may cite fair use when contesting a DMCA notification through the counter-notification process.
For more information about Fair Use, Scribd recommends the comprehensive article on Wikipedia.