Copyright law exists to promote the creation of new, original material by protecting the rights and incentives of those who create content.
Original content is copyrighted at the instant it becomes fixed in a tangible medium. Creators no longer have to register a copyright to receive protection against unlawful use--it is automatic.
The doctrine of Fair Use, however, limits the exclusive rights of the copyright owner and makes reasonable public access to copyrighted works available for limited purposes. Determining what constitutes Fair Use in a specific situation can be difficult. Section 107 of the copyright law (Title 17, U.S. Code) specifies four factors that are balanced together when determining whether a use is Fair or not:
The following guidelines may be helpful: