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  • Does it fall under the Fair Use guidelines to copy the illustrations from a book into a PowerPoint presentation in order to use in a school library setting?
  • Fair use is a balancing test that never produces a certain answer. This question, like many educational uses, is one where the first and fourth factors seem to be on the side of fair use and the second and third seemed to be against it.

    Specifically, this is an educational use, so factor one favors fair use. The pictures are, presumably, highly creative, so factor two weighs against fair use. Assuming that this is a picture book, the illustrations would be a substantial part of the whole work, so factor three also argues against fair use. I am inclined to think, finally, that there is no negative impact on the market. The question seems to imply that this is a situation where the librarian is reading to a group and wants to make the pictures easily visible to all. It is not reasonable, if that is correct, to substitute buying a copy of the book for each child for the group activity. Since more purchases would not accomplish the same purpose, I think the fourth factor favors fair use.

    Because courts tend to treat the first and fourth factors as the most important, I would be inclined to consider this a fair use. But in order to enjoy the protection from liability that the law includes for employees of non-profit schools and libraries, you have to make your own good faith decision about fair use.
  • Thank you, ksmith for you helpful response. It is a sticky situation and one that I am keenly reluctant to cross. As you say, it often comes down to a good faith decision. I only use the PowerPoints in my library in order for the students to view the illustrations while I read the story. That way they have more time to study the illustrations and I don't have to hold a book up while trying to read. It has works quite wellbut I have become increasingly uneasy about the copyright issue. After reading your response, I believe that since the only purpose is for ease of viewing, the Fair Use policy does cover this. Thanks.

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