Fair Use Definition and Legal Meaning

On this page, you'll find the legal definition and meaning of Fair Use, written in plain English, along with examples of how it is used.

What is Fair Use?

n. The right to utilize a copyrighted material without compensating the author or fear of being sued for copyright infringement. Copy machines can be used to copy pages of texts, charts, act., without infringing the copyright if used in classrooms or as advice to employees. For example: Professor Elmer Smedley makes 100 copies of a photograph from Time magazine of starving Somalians to illustrate to his students the deprivations in Africa (which is fair use), but then Smedley publishes a book Africa on the Brink, and uses the photograph in a chapter on starvation (not fair use), and is responsible to the photographer for a royalty.