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Copyright: Fair Use

GTC Policies & Procedures

Greenville Technical College provides an administrative policy on copyright and intellectual property and a copyright compliance form to help employees, students, and others document efforts to properly use copyrighted materials and comply with United States Copyright Law (Title 17, United States Code, Sect 101, et seq.).

GTC faculty, staff, and students do not have permission to copy or distribute inclusive access materials provided by the Bookstore. Publisher and vendor agreements only allow digital access by individuals that have purchased the content. 

What is Fair Use?

Based on Section 107 of the U.S. Copyright Law, the Doctrine of Fair Use exemptions:

  • Balance needs of scholars with the rights of copyright owners
  • Pertain to one time use only under special circumstances
  • Do not carry total legal force, but provide a "safe harbor" for use

What constitutes fair use is expressed in the form of guidelines rather than explicit rules. When ruling in "fair use" cases, courts consider four factors: purpose, nature, proportion, and impact. These are explained further in the table and resources provided. 

What is Fair Use?
Information from the U.S. Copyright Office

U.S. Copyright Fair Use Index 
Explanation of Fair Use from the U.S. Copyright Office

Fair Use Tools

ALA: Fair Use Evaluator
Tool to help determine fair use by the American Library Association

Copyright & Fair Use - Charts & Tools 
Compiled by Stanford University Libraries

YouTube, Copyright, and Fair Use

YouTube videos may be used in the classroom as long as the video has been added by its original creator or current copyright owner.

Fair Use Guidelines

The table below provides a summary of fair use guidelines. Consider how your use of a copyrighted material would be scored on each factor of purpose, nature, amount, and effect to determine how you will proceed.

4 out of 4
Your use of the copyrighted work is fair.
3 out of 4
You are probably protected under Fair Use.
2 out of 4
Use the copyrighted work at your own risk.
1 out of 4
You are strongly advised not to use the work.


Favoring Fair Use

  • Non-Profit

  • Educational

  • Teaching

  • Research

  • Scholarship

  • Criticism

  • Comment

  • News Reporting

  • Transformative or productive use

  • Restricted access

  • Parody

Opposing Fair Use

  • Commercial

  • Profiting from the use

  • Entertainment

  • Bad-faith behavior

  • Denying credit to original author


Favoring Fair Use

  • Published work

  • Fact-based or nonfiction work

  • Important to stated educational objectives

Opposing Fair Use

  • Unpublished work

  • Highly creative or fictional work

  • Work was intended created for the Education Market (ex. textbooks, workbooks)


Favoring Fair Use

  • Small portion of the work

  • Section used is not central or critical to entire work; it is not the "heart of the work"

  • Amount is suitable for stated educational objectives

  • Page ranges, media file clips, and small low-quality images

Opposing Fair Use

  • Large or entire portion of the work

  • Section used is central to the work


(most important factor)

Favoring Fair Use

  • User owns lawfully acquired or purchased copy of original work

  • One or few copies made or distributed

  • No significant effect on the market or potential market for copyrighted work

  • No similar product marketed by the copyright holder

  • Lack of licensing mechanism (but not required)

  • Original is out of print or otherwise unavailable

  • Copyright owner cannot be identified

  • Use is spontaneous

Opposing Fair Use

  • Competes with sales of the original work
  • Significantly impairs market or potential market for copyrighted work or derivative

  • Reasonably available licensing mechanism available

  • Affordable permission available for using work

  • Numerous copies made or distributed

  • User makes work accessible on web or in other public forum 

  • Repeated or long term use

  • Excuse that "everybody did it"



Contact the Greenville Technical College Copyright Officer :
Tara Weekes
Director of Learning Resources
Barton Campus, Building 105, Room 129
(864) 236-6500

Purpose & Disclaimer

Greenville Technical College Libraries maintains this guide to provide a resource for copyright-related information and services. The information presented in this guide is for information purposes only and should not be used as a substitute for actual legal advice. Please consult an expert in copyright law for legal advice.

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