"Fair use" is a term used to describe the sparing use of copyrighted matter (in the case of Fringepedia, usually images) for certain purposes, without explicit consent of the copyright holder. It does not give an uploader usage of text, images or other materials freely without consideration of their copyright status, but rather provides a set of criteria which essentially allow usage of material for illustrative purposes if no other alternative is available.
Criteria For Fair Use
Any non-free media used on Fringepedia must meet all of these criteria:
- No free equivalent is available or could be created that would adequately give the same information. If unfree material can be transformed into free material, it should be done instead of using a "fair use" defense. For example, the information in a newspaper article can easily be used as a basis of an original article and then cited as a reference. Maps and diagrams can often be redrawn from original sources, though simply "tracing" copyrighted material does not make it free. Neither photographs nor sound clips, however, can usually be "transformed" in this way; however, a drawing or painting loosely based on multiple photographs could presumably be made. Also, if the subject of the photograph still exists, a free photograph could be taken, even though it may be difficult.
- Always use a more free alternative if one is available. Such images can often be used more readily outside the U.S. If you see a fair use image and know of an alternative more free equivalent, please replace it, so that Fringepedia can become as free as possible.
- The material must not be used in a manner that would likely replace the original market role of the original copyrighted media; our use of copyrighted material should not make it so that one no longer needs to purchase the actual product. Large copyrighted photographs from agencies that make their income selling photographs, for example, would likely not be "fair use" as it would be undermining the ability of the copyright holder to make money from their work.
- The amount of copyrighted work used should be as little as possible. Low-resolution images should be used instead of high-resolution images (especially images that are so high-resolution that they could be used for piracy). Do not use multiple images or media clips if one will serve the purpose adequately.
- The material must have previously been published.
- The material must be encyclopedic and otherwise meet general content requirements.
- The material must meet the media-specific policy requirements.
- The material must be used in at least one article.
- The material must contribute significantly to the article (e.g. identify the subject of an article, or specifically illustrate relevant points or sections within the text) and must not serve a purely decorative purpose.
- Fair use images may be used only in the article namespace. Used outside article space, they are not covered under the fair use doctrine. They should never be used on templates (including stub templates and navigation boxes) or on user pages. They should be linked, not inlined, from talk pages when they are the topic of discussion. All other uses, even if legal under the fair use clauses of copyright law, should be avoided to keep the use of unfree images to a minimum. Exceptions can be made on a case-by-case basis if there is a broad consensus that doing so is necessary to the goal of the wiki; to provide the most comprehensive guide to FRINGE on the net (like the templates used as part of the Main Page).
- The image or media description page must contain:
- Proper attribution of the source of the material, and attribution of the copyright holder (if it is different).
- An appropriate fair use tag indicating which Fringepedia policy provision permitting the use is claimed. A list of image tags can be found on the fair use page of wikipedia.
- For each article for which fair use is claimed, the name of the article and a "fair use rationale" as explained in this wikipedia page. The rationale must be presented in a manner that can be clearly understood and which is relevant to the article in question.
As a quick test, ask yourself: "Can this image be replaced by a different one, while still having the same effect?" If the answer is yes, then the image probably doesn't meet the criteria above and should not be used.
Fair Use is legally defined in the United States as the following:
Notwithstanding the provisions of sections 106 and 106A, the fair use of a copyrighted work, including such use by reproduction in copies or phonorecords or by any other means specified by that section, for purposes such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching (including multiple copies for classroom use), scholarship, or research, is not an infringement of copyright. In determining whether the use made of a work in any particular case is a fair use the factors to be considered shall include—
- . the purpose and character of the use, including whether such use is of a commercial nature or is for nonprofit educational purposes;
- . the nature of the copyrighted work;
- . the amount and substantiality of the portion used in relation to the copyrighted work as a whole; and
- . the effect of the use upon the potential market for or value of the copyrighted work.
The fact that a work is unpublished shall not itself bar a finding of Fair Use if such finding is made upon consideration of all the above factors.
A more detailed description of the generic precepts of what constitutes fair use is available on wikipedia.