Intellectual property refers to protected materials such as things that are copyrighted, patented and trademarked. When looking for great materials, the information age has placed unlimited options at our fingertips. However, using the intellectual property of others may result in legal issues.
When defending against claims of copyright infringement, it can be helpful to know about fair use laws. There are certain ways copyrighted materials can be used legally and without permission.
How “Fair Use” laws allow for use of copyrighted materials
Fair use is an area of the law that allows for use of the intellectual property of others without permission if the use is fair. The following are principles of fair use when using copyrighted materials without permission:
- Teaching: Portions or excerpts can be used when making copies for educational purposes in a classroom setting. This could be in an academic or corporate training environment.
- Parody: Comedy has a lot of liberty assigned to it as an art form. When using copyrighted material in a satire or parody, it can be considered fair use.
- Research: When publishing research or applying for scholarships, many times copyrighted material can be used legally.
- News reporting: Using copyrighted material while reporting the news can also fall under fair use.
- Criticism: When being criticizing, copyrighted material is often qualified as fair use.
- Commenting: When simply commenting on a product or service, one may use copyrighted materials under fair use laws.
There are many legal ways to use the copyrighted materials of others without their permission. The above is just a brief overview. However, even using intellectual property legally can give rise to accusations of intellectual property theft or infringement.
When facing accusations of copyright infringement, it can be helpful to have experienced guidance by your side.