Skip to Main Content

Fair Use: Factor 1: Purpose

In some cases, I don’t actually need to ask for permission to use others’ content?!

Factor 1: Purpose of Work

The purpose and character of use, including whether the use is for commercial or noncommercial purposes;

In recent years a determination of whether a use is "transformative" has become an important part of many fair use analyses.  A transformative use occurs when the work is used for a “broadly beneficial purpose different from that of the original.”

If you can arguably regard your usage of the content to transform the content, rather than merely reproducing it, you can more likely consider fair use. Transformative examples include making commentary or critique on the work; creating a new interpretation of the work; and revising to a parody of the work.

However, transformative use alone does not necessarily mean that the first factor favors fair use. The degree of difference in purpose or character must be weighed against other considerations, like commercialism. A noncommercial use of the work will be considered more likely for fair use.