Library Copyright Calculator
This site developed by the American Library Association provides information to help determine whether or not material is in the public domain in the United States.
Public Domain Sherpa
This site provides information on finding and using public domain material in the United States
Fair use is primarily designed to allow the use of the copyright protected work for commentary, parody, news reporting, research and education.
Section 107 of the United States Copyright Act lists four factors to help judges determine, and therefore to help you predict, when content usage may be considered "fair use."
- The purpose and character of the use, including whether such use is of a commercial nature or is for nonprofit, educational purposes.
- The nature of the copyrighted work.
- The amount and substantiality of the portion used in relation to the copyright protected work as a whole.
- The effect of the use on the potential market for or value of the copyright protected work.
Also, in rare instances, works may be "dedicated" (donated) to the public domain.
Visit Cornell University's Public Domain chart for quick reference to see whether your intended work falls within the public domain. Includes sound recordings and architectural works.
Guidelines for Copyrighted Materials
Single Copying for teachers
A single copy may be made of any of the following by or for a teacher at his or her individual request for his or her scholarly research or use in teaching or preparation to teach a class:
- a chapter from a book;
- an article from a periodical or newspaper;
- a short story, short essay, or short poem, whether or not from a collective work;
- a chart, graph, diagram, drawing, cartoon, or picture from a book, periodical, or newspaper.
Multiple Copies for Classroom Use
Multiple copies (not to exceed in any event more than one copy per pupil in a course) may be made by or for the teacher giving the course for classroom use or discussion, provided that
- the copying meets the tests of brevity and spontaneity as defined below, and
- meets the cumulative effect test as defined below, and
- each copy includes a notice of copyright.
(i) Poetry: (a) A complete poem if less than 250 words and if printed on not more than two pages, or (b) from a longer poem, an excerpt of not more than 250 words.
(ii) Prose: (a) Either a complete article, story, or essay of less than 2,500 words, or (b) an excerpt from any prose work of not more than 1,000 words or 10 percent of the work, whichever is less, but in any event a minimum of 500 words.
- Wentworth Institute's Collegiate Press Center
- U.S. Copyright Office the Library of Congress
- Copyright Clearance Center
- Stanford University Libraries' Copyright & Fair Use site
- Cornell University Copyright Information Center
- Baruch College's Copyright Metro tutorial walks you through the copyright process