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Copyright: Fair Use & Educational Use

This guide is for Mayo Clinic staff and students who are seeking information on Copyright and Fair Use. The guide contains links to Mayo and web resources.

Fair Use

"Fair Use" enables educators to use copyrighted materials without permission but with due diligence. Your attempt at a fair use analysis in good faith must be established.  Please note that while due diligence in the analysis of fair use and the recording of this due diligence and good faith is helpful in a court of law, it is not a guarantee of a finding of fair use in court. Stanford University Libraries offers several tools and charts you may use to clarify and establish due diligence.

When you have completed one of the tools and recorded your responses, determine if the analysis you have made tips the balance toward Fair Use or toward asking permission. If you determine that the balance tips in favor of Fair Use, be sure to use the material only in the way you represented in the analysis. Save your documentation as evidence of due diligence. 


When Fair Use Applies

When Fair Use applies

  • For print resources, you may make one print copy of an article or a book chapter for each Mayo Clinic student or employee. The next time the course is taught, permission will be needed to provide the same article.
  • For digital resources, you may share a link to the resource using the proxy link, shareable link, or permalink found in the library database or catalog. This is the preferred method for sharing resources.

Acquiring Material for Fair Use

 When Fair Use applies to a resource to be used for educational purposes and Mayo Libraries does not own the material: 

  • Request permission to reproduce/distribute from the copyright holder indicating not for profit educational use 


  • Place one print copy on Reserve at the nearest Mayo Clinic Library (Rochester, Arizona, Florida)

Instructor Support of Compliance


Instructors need to help support Mayo's compliance with copyright/licensing guidelines. Best practices for documenting copyright compliance include

  • planning course materials at least three months before the first day of class. This leeway enables permissions to be obtained.
  • providing answers so that staff person can accurately complete the Fair Use worksheet. 

For more information, see the Copyright page published by Mayo Clinic Legal Department.