Fair use

Fair use is a doctrine in copyright law that permits limited use of copyrighted material without obtaining permission from the rights holders. It’s applicable in certain circumstances like criticism, news reporting, teaching, and research.


The idea of fair use is to balance the interests of copyright holders with the public’s ability to use copyrighted works for creativity, commentary, and the dissemination of knowledge. Determining fair use often involves considering factors such as the purpose and character of the use, the nature of the copyrighted work, the amount and substantiality of the portion used, and the potential effect on the market for or value of the original work.


In the realm of music, fair use might permit a music reviewer to quote lyrics in a critique, a teacher to play a song during a lesson, or a documentary filmmaker to include a brief clip of a song relevant to the subject matter. However, each situation is unique, and what qualifies as fair use can be a complex legal determination.


A notable example of fair use in music is the case of 2 Live Crew’s parody version of Roy Orbison’s “Oh, Pretty Woman”. The U.S. Supreme Court ruled that it was a fair use because it was a parody that commented upon and transformed the original work.



For more extensive information, refer to the Fair Use page on Wikipedia.