Fair Use is an important copyright concept for educators who use copyrighted works in their teaching. The Fair Use doctrine permits limited use of copyrighted material without acquiring permission from the rights holders. If a use falls outside the fair use guidelines, permission often must be requested and received from the copyright holder to be lawful.
Section 107 of title 17, U. S. Code 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 infringement may be unclear and not easily defined. There is no specific number of words, lines, or notes that may safely be taken without permission.
Technology, Education and Copyright Harmonization (TEACH) Act and Distance Education
Signed into law by President George W. Bush on November 2, 2002, the TEACH Act clarifies what uses are permissible with regard to distance education.