Answered By: Library West
Last Updated: Oct 29, 2014     Views: 31

Fair Use, under the Copyright Act, relies upon consideration of four factors: purpose of the use, amount of copyrighted material used, nature of the copyrighted material being used, and the effect upon the market of that use. Under the first factor of purpose, an educational use typically weights in favor of a finding of fair use (all four factors are balanced equally – no one factor is controlling). An educational use may either be a use in an educational institution or a use for educational purposes. Examples of “educational institutions” include K-12 schools, colleges, and universities. However, libraries, museums, hospitals, and other nonprofit institutions also are considered educational institutions when they engage in nonprofit instructional, research, or scholarly activities for educational purposes. “Educational purposes” include noncommercial instruction or curriculum-based teaching by educators to students at nonprofit educational institutions, planned noncommercial study or investigation directed toward making a contribution to a field of knowledge, or presentation of research findings at noncommercial peer conferences, workshops, or seminars. My opinion would be professional development courses satisfy the definition of “educational purpose.” The other factors must also be considered however, namely the quantity of copyrighted material being copied and distributed and the delivery method (presumably this is online – is it a secure, password protected environment accessibly only by those enrolled in the course and are the materials removed at the end of the course).

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