Nearly all of us have used a quote, excerpt, paraphrase, picture or some other form of another person’s ideas or thoughts. In many respects, it’s human nature to quote and/or use other people’s works for different reasons. Think about all the times you’ve quoted people from the movies, on TV, or even from a good line in a book.
For example, nearly everyone has heard of Franklin D. Roosevelt’s Presidential Inaugural Address in 1933 when he said, "The only thing we have to fear is fear itself." Or John F. Kennedy’s Presidential Inaugural Address in 1961 when he said, "Ask not what your country can do for you - ask what you can do for your country." And one of the most famous quotes in English literature comes from Charles Dickens’ A Tale of Two Cities, which starts out by saying: "It was the best of times, it was the worst of times; it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness; it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity."
However, when quoting another person and/or using his or her copyrighted work, one must be very careful not to commit copyright infringement. Copyright infringement occurs when an individual illegally uses another person’s copyrighted work.
In short, copyright laws give the owner of a copyrighted work, such as a book, movie, article, drawing, etc. a lot of protections. But there are certain exceptions where others can use a copyrighted work without the owner’s consent. One of the biggest exceptions is called the "fair use" doctrine, which we’ll explore in this article.
In this article, we’ll take a general look at the "fair use doctrine," learn about the federal statute that guides fair use, take a look at the 4 factor fair use balancing test, and review fair use of works on the internet with an example.
Next, let’s take a general look at the "fair use" doctrine.