The fair use doctrine is recognized under U.S. copyright law and allows certain uses of copyright protected material without first obtaining permission from the copyright holder. It is intended to serve the public good by allowing use of copyright protected materials for comedy, parody, news reporting, research and education. However, it is important to remember that not every use in an academic setting is automatically considered a fair use.
A thoughtful analysis of these factors in relation to the desired use is needed in order to make a “good faith” determination of fair use. There are significant penalties that can be imposed for copyright infringement. Liability may be reduced in cases of nonprofit educational use if it can be established that an evaluation of these four factors resulted in a reasonable belief that the use was fair.