Fair Use is a doctrine within U.S. copyright law that allows for some limited use of of copyrighted material without the permission of the copyright holder. See 17 U.S.C. Section 107. Common situations under which fair use may apply include criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching, scholarship, and research. Four nonexclusive factors are the guideposts as to whether a use is fair. These factors include: the purpose and character of the use, the nature of the copyrighted work, the amount and substantiality of the original work that you are using, and the effect of your proposed use on the potential market for the original work that you are borrowing from.
According to Section 107 of the U.S. Copyright Act, under certain circumstances, utilizing limited amounts of in-copyright works ". . . for purposes such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching (including multiple uses for classroom use), scholarship, or research is not an infringement of copyright." Fair use is evaluated by reviewing and balancing four statutory factors:
Whether a use is "transformative" is not mentioned in the fair use statute, but it is a critical inquiry under factor one of the fair use test - the purpose and character of your use.
If a work is "transformative" that means that it casts the original material in a new light, it is not simply a mechanical copy of the original work utilized for the same purpose.
Transformative uses are more likely to push factor one in your favor because they add new information, meaning, and context to the original work you are borrowing from.
Some questions to ask when assessing whether your use is transformative:
Some questions to ask that may help in determining whether a use is "fair use" would include
Evaluating fair use requires a review of the four fair use factors on balance