Last week, we looked at what fair use ISN’T. So now let’s look at what it is.
Basically, fair use depends on a few factors, most importantly (1) the amount of material you copy from the original work, (2) your purpose in using that material, (3) the nature of the work that you’re copying, and (4) the effect that your copying has on the original art.
(1) The amount of material you copy from the original work –For the first factor, you are generally allowed to use snippets of a work as long as you don’t appropriate the “heart and soul” of the work…what, exactly, that means is open to some debate. As an example, if you grab a few seconds from another film, you’re probably in the clear. However, you would probably not get away with including the entirety of that film in your own project. How much is too much? That’s different in every case, so just try to exercise some common sense. [read]