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Using Copyrighted Material
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A copyright grants its owner exclusive rights to the use of a protected work, including reproducing, distributing, or displaying the work. The growth and popularity of the World Wide Web have led to increased concerns about the fair use of copyrighted material. Before you post your paper on the Web or produce a multi-media presentation that includes audio, video, and graphic elements copied from a Web site, make sure that you have used copyrighted materials fairly.

The following four criteria are used to determine if copyrighted material has been used fairly:

What is the purpose of the use? Educational, nonprofit, and personal use are more likely to be considered fair than commercial use.

What is the nature of the work to be used? In most cases, imaginative and unpublished materials can only be used if you have the permission of the copyright holder.

How much of the copyrighted work is used? If a writer uses a small portion of a text for academic purposes, this use is more likely to be considered fair than if he or she uses a whole work for commercial purposes.

What effect would this use have on the market for the original? The use of a work is usually considered unfair if it would hurt sales of the original.

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