Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery- Oscar Wilde

Fair use is a doctrine permits limited use of copyrighted material without having to first acquire permission from the copyright holder. As instructional designers, we must be cognizant of what does and does not constitute fair use when designing e-learning.

Section 107 of the Copyright Act provides the statutory framework for determining whether something is a fair use. Some of these uses include criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching, and research (Office, 2020).

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As educators and instructional designers we have access to copyrighted material on a limited basis. Purpose and character of the use as well as the nature of the copyrighted work are examples of things considered when evaluating if an item falls under the Fair use doctrine. The court may consider other factors in weighing a fair use question, depending upon the circumstances. Courts evaluate fair use claims on a case-by-case basis, and the outcome of any given case depends on a fact-specific inquiry. This means that there is no formula to ensure that a predetermined percentage or amount of a work—or specific number of words, lines, pages, copies—may be used without permission (Office, 2020).  

For more information on the Fair Use Doctrine check here:

For general information on copyrights:


Office, U. S. C. (2020, April). More Information on Fair Use. Copyright.

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