What is Fair Use, and do my e-books qualify?

Fair use is an exception built into copyright law which allows creators to use the copyrighted work of another without their permission. This is a very tricky exception because what you consider fair use may not be what the original copyright owner considers to be fair. The ultimate judge of what is fair is an actual judge in a court of law where these cases get settled. Decisions tend to depend on the facts of each case, so as a creator it’s hard to look to these cases for lessons you can apply to your own use of another’s content. For this reason, we highly recommend using only your own original work in your e-books or getting the written permission of another creator before using their work in your own.

The major exception to this principle is work that has aged out of copyright protection and is in the “public domain.” It can be difficult to know whether a work has passed into the public domain, but there are some helpful resources out there. Check out this chart from Cornell.  

Additionally, here are some links to information about fair use:



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