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Using copyrighted content

Copyright is a bundle of five rights that includes copying, adapting, or sharing someone else’s work. You need permission from the copyright owner to do any of these things, unless fair use or another exception under copyright law applies.

Fair use provisions of U.S. copyright law allow use of copyrighted materials on a limited basis for specific purposes without permission of the copyright holder. The law as written is brief and general. There are no black and white rules; fair use assessments by the courts involve a holistic assessment of four factors (see below, under “How to determine whether a use is fair”). So just because your use is educational, or you’re only using a small amount, it is not necessarily a fair use under the law.