The Four Factor Fair Test
Fair use protects those who want to use copyrighted works without the owners permission.
The courts decide if the copyright has been breached or infringed but there are tests to see whether this has happened.
The four factor fair test helps solve this problem and determine if the work has been copyrighted fairly or not.
The tests are:
- The reason to use the copyrighted material.
- The type of copyrighted work.
- The amount of the work compared to the whole work to be used.
- The effect on the value of the copyrighted work.
Combined together these tests help decide if the copyright has been infringed or breached. The laws protect things like writing, music, song lyrics, photos, drawings and films.
A copyright infringement or a breach of a copyright means when the rights of the copyright holder are misused and the law for copyright is broken.
Rolex watches are the most elegant and expensive watches. The markets around the world have been flooded with cheap imitations of these. They look exactly the same as the originals with the same logos, watch faces and colours but on very close inspection they are not as refined as the original Rolex even though they claim to be the original Rolex.
An example of this was when a Danish man purchased a Rolex watch online from China but on arrival to Denmark customs determined it was a fake. The matter was taken to court by the Rolex company and it was determined the copyright had been breached and the watch destroyed. This was a huge case and was a success for brand owners in their battle against counterfeit goods because it meant goods bought online from non EU countries would breach copyright laws when the goods arrived within the EU and could be destroyed by customs.
Apple versus Samsung was another example of copyright breach. Samsung was found guilty of copying some of the designs of the iphone and ipad including the shape, corners and screen and was fined millions of dollars. This is an ongoing battle with each side accusing the other of copyright infringement.
You can use some parts of copyrighted materials but again there is no set rule as to how much constitutes a copyright infringement or for exactly what purpose it will be used for. Each case has to be investigated on an individual basis.