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Author: Eddie Carroll | Website: http://www.flashkit.com

The four factors (purpose, nature, amount, and effect) must be evaluated together to determine if the use of a copyrighted work is fair use. An understanding of these factors is essential to avoid liability for copyright infringement.

  1. The first factor favors nonprofit educational purposes.
  2. The second factor looks at the nature of the copyrighted work. The courts usually favor nonfiction over fiction and published works over unpublished ones.
  3. Amount and substantiality are difficult to gauge. According to the Copyright Office, "there is no specific number of words, lines, or notes that may be safely taken without permission." Generally, excerpts are favored over entire works. Be aware that in some cases, a small portion could capture the heart or essence of a work and be considered infringement. This is an important note for flash designers to remember.
  4. Finally, the fourth factor is considered by some courts to be the most important one. It examines the effect copying has on the market for a copyrighted work. Should the user have purchased the copyrighted work? Will the copying damage the market for the copyrighted work?

This is where the law gets tricky. What constitutes fair use? It is however safe bet that any creative work that is used for commercial purposes that is substantially duplicated for use in a similar market will be seen as illegal.

To help define what is acceptable fair use, the Copyright Office offers the following examples: The 1961 Report of the Register of Copyrights on the General Revision of the U.S. Copyright Law cites examples of activities that courts have regarded as fair use:

'quotation of excerpts in a review or criticism for purposes of illustration or comment; quotation of short passages in a scholarly or technical work, for illustration or clarification of the author’s observations; use in a parody of some of the content of the work parodied; summary of an address or article, with brief quotations in a news report; reproduction by a library of a portion of a work to replace part of a damaged copy; reproduction by a teacher or student of a small part of a work to illustrate a lesson; reproduction of a work in legislative or judicial proceedings or reports; incidental or fortuitous reproduction, in a newsreel or broadcast, of a work located in the scene of an event being reported.'

Source: U.S. Copyright Office. In Answer to Your Query: Fair Use. Publication FL 102, 1994.

Now lets look at how this applys to Flash and Designers.

» Level Basic

Added: 2000-12-14
Rating: 7 Votes: 39
(10 being the highest)
» Author
Eddie is the Content Editor at Flashkit.com and is actually a sentient Gateway Solo 2150xl notebook that suffers from acute lysdexia and caffeine addiction. He is carried on the shoulders of a semi-autonomous human called "Body".
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