Fair-use meaning

Fair use is defined as that a small portion of a copyrighted work may be quoted for teaching, research, news reporting, etc. without needing to obtain the permission of or pay the copyright holder.
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The market value of the material should not be negatively impacted due to your use of the material. The general rule of thumb is to use the material without you making a profit on it or the originator losing any profit – that is the essence of fair use.
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The nature of the copyrighted material comes in to play when dealing with fair use. It is not fair use to quote specific wording from the material for any personal profit. Likewise, it wouldn't be fair use to use the idea within your own drama or fictional story.
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The amount of the material used and its ultimate significance can also come into play when determining fair use. Using a highly significant portion of the material or even using the entire material would be illegal. Use what you need, but keep it short and move on to your own ideas.
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Avoiding copyright infringement lawsuits or other problems with using copyrighted material is quite simple: ask for permission first. If you can’t gain permission to use the copyrighted material, follow the general criteria explained for fair use.

An example of fair use is quoting a novel for a research paper.

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The use of copyrighted material according to defined limits so as not to require permission from the copyright holder.
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(law): a doctrine in intellectual property law that permits one party to make use of another party's protected intellectual property (such as a copyright or trademark) under narrowly defined circumstances.

Although fair use was not mentioned in the previous copyright law, the doctrine has developed through a substantial number of court decisions over the years. United States Copyright Office Statement on Fair Use,

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The purpose of the use should not be commercial, or designed for the purpose of making a profit, by its nature. Almost any commentary or use that adds value to the copyright material without adding money to your pocket is usually acceptable.
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Copyright law: the doctrine that one may use a small portion of a copyrighted work without the author’s permission, in scholarly works, reviews, or other contexts where the use is considered reasonable and limited.
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