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SNHU policies and resources concerning copyright law.


If you have any questions, or if you would like more information, please contact:


Ellen Phillips - Director, Open Educational Resources & Intellectual Property, (603.652.1900)

Fair Use

The Fair Use Doctrine is outlined in Title 17, Chapter 1, Sections 107 and 108 of the U.S. Code. The Fair Use Doctrine allows for limited use of copyrighted materials without the creator’s permission. Typical examples of use that may fall under the fair use defense include commentary, criticism, news, research, teaching, scholarship, or citation. However, it is important to note that just because a copy of a protected work is made or used for educational purposes, it does not automatically fall under the Fair Use Doctrine. Rather, courts use a variety of factors in determining whether any given circumstance constitutes fair use, including:

  1. The purpose and character of the use, including whether such use is of a commercial nature or is for a nonprofit educational purpose;
  2. The nature of the copyrighted work;
  3. The amount and substantiality of the portion used in relation to the copyrighted work as a whole; and
  4.  The effect of the use upon the potential market for or value of the copyrighted work.

The following links offer additional information on the Fair Use Doctrine:

Obtaining Permission

To obtain permission to use a copyrighted work, the copyright holder must be contacted. You can do this yourself or you can pay the Copyright Clearance Center, Inc. to obtain it for you. 

Here are some resources on how to determine if a work is protected by copyright and how to identify who the rights holder is. 

A Fair(y) Use Tale