On Display at Trexler Library: Fair Use Week

by Amy Manns | Mar 01, 2018


Have you ever quoted a novel for a paper? Used Google Books? Read Fanfiction? Watched the Daily Show or South Park? Then you’ve benefited from fair use!

Monday, February 26-Friday, May 2, 2018 is Fair Use Week, a celebration of the fair use doctrine of copyright in the United States.

Trexler Library is celebrating with a display in the lobby that explains fair use and how students come into contact with it. They are providing additional resources, as well. For those thinking, “I’ve never heard of fair use,” you’re in luck! Fair Use Week is all about explaining its benefits. 

Fair use is the copyright principle that allows copyrighted materials to be used without the permission of the copyright holder under certain circumstances. Fair use allows:

  • students to engage with academic material in papers;
  • new technologies like search engines to be created;
  • and comedians to create parodies of current events.

In fact, the Supreme Court has protected fair use as a First Amendment Safeguard because of its critical importance to creativity, intellect, industry, and cultural development in our society.

So how does it work? There are four factors that determines if something – an academic paper, comedy sketch, art piece, computer code, etc – is able to use copyrighted material without permission:

  1. The purpose and character of the use (this is the most important!)
  2. The nature of the copyrighted work
  3. The portion used in relation to the copyright work as a whole
  4. The effect of the use upon the potential market

For DeSales students, most of the copyrighted work you’ll want to use will fall under academic use within the first factor. You can’t exactly write a paper about Hemingway without citing his work, right? If you want to reproduce material for an academic work that you won’t profit from, you don’t need to ask permission — you just need to cite the work where you found the quote. 

There are many other ways students come into contact with fair use in their daily lives. Check out the Library display to see how fair use influences so much of what you do – from checking email to watching TV shows on your cell phone.

And follow the Trexler Library on social media as they discuss fair use throughout this week.

For more about fair use and Fair Use Week, check out fairuseweek.org.  

Fair Use Week. (2015). About. Retrieved from http://fairuseweek.org/about/

Association of Research Libraries & YIPPA. (n.d.). Fair use fundamentals. Retrieved from 

See More Latest News >>


Tom McNamara, Executive Director of Communications

610.282.1100 x1219

DeSales University
2255 Station Avenue
Center Valley, PA 18034