We are independent & ad-supported. We may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.
Advertiser Disclosure
Our website is an independent, advertising-supported platform. We provide our content free of charge to our readers, and to keep it that way, we rely on revenue generated through advertisements and affiliate partnerships. This means that when you click on certain links on our site and make a purchase, we may earn a commission. Learn more.
How We Make Money
We sustain our operations through affiliate commissions and advertising. If you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may receive a commission from the merchant at no additional cost to you. We also display advertisements on our website, which help generate revenue to support our work and keep our content free for readers. Our editorial team operates independently of our advertising and affiliate partnerships to ensure that our content remains unbiased and focused on providing you with the best information and recommendations based on thorough research and honest evaluations. To remain transparent, we’ve provided a list of our current affiliate partners here.

What is Fair Use?

By Garry Crystal
Updated Feb 01, 2024
Our promise to you
WiseGeek is dedicated to creating trustworthy, high-quality content that always prioritizes transparency, integrity, and inclusivity above all else. Our ensure that our content creation and review process includes rigorous fact-checking, evidence-based, and continual updates to ensure accuracy and reliability.

Our Promise to you

Founded in 2002, our company has been a trusted resource for readers seeking informative and engaging content. Our dedication to quality remains unwavering—and will never change. We follow a strict editorial policy, ensuring that our content is authored by highly qualified professionals and edited by subject matter experts. This guarantees that everything we publish is objective, accurate, and trustworthy.

Over the years, we've refined our approach to cover a wide range of topics, providing readers with reliable and practical advice to enhance their knowledge and skills. That's why millions of readers turn to us each year. Join us in celebrating the joy of learning, guided by standards you can trust.

Editorial Standards

At WiseGeek, we are committed to creating content that you can trust. Our editorial process is designed to ensure that every piece of content we publish is accurate, reliable, and informative.

Our team of experienced writers and editors follows a strict set of guidelines to ensure the highest quality content. We conduct thorough research, fact-check all information, and rely on credible sources to back up our claims. Our content is reviewed by subject-matter experts to ensure accuracy and clarity.

We believe in transparency and maintain editorial independence from our advertisers. Our team does not receive direct compensation from advertisers, allowing us to create unbiased content that prioritizes your interests.

In its most basic sense, fair use refers to using copyrighted material for a limited or transformative purpose. Transformative means that with the help of the original material, a new work has been created. Under the fair use law, original material can be used without the original owner's permission. Uses for the material can include commenting or criticizing the material. Another use may be to parody the original material.

Fair use can also be used as a defense against infringement. If your use of the material comes under any of the headings above, then it is not considered an infringement of copyright. Copyright infringement is a very serious crime. If you are found guilty of infringement, the penalties can be severe.

Millions of dollars are spent each year to determine the correct appliance of fair use. The judges and lawyers who created the fair use law did not want to limit its application. They wanted it to have a wide meaning that could be open to discussion, in much the same way that freedom of speech is.

Fair use definitions usually fall under two basic categories. The first is comment and criticism. For example, if you are writing a book or film review, then you can use some of the original work in the review. Using a few lines of a song in a music review is also considered fair use. A student or teacher can copy a few paragraphs from a news article for use in a lesson and it is not considered infringement.

The rationale behind the uses above are that the public and sometimes the original artist may benefit from the review you have written. The original material will strengthen the review you have written. The second definition to which fair use can be applied is parody. To parody someone's material is usually to lampoon or imitate it in some way for comedic or satirical use. The original material must usually be well known in order for this to work, and extensive use of the original material is usually permitted.

Even so, copyright and fair use laws have ever shifting standards. The courts have spent a great deal of time and money deciding what does and does not constitute fair use. For instance, an idea cannot be copyrighted. It is only when the idea is put down in some sort of tangible form, such as when it is written down or performed, that the creator legally owns it. You should check carefully the definitions of fair use before using or "borrowing" anyone else's material.

WiseGeek is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Discussion Comments
WiseGeek, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.

WiseGeek, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.