See this Michael Brewer's digital slider at LibraryCopyright.net for a quick glance at the probable copyright status of a published (or non-published) piece of work you would like to investigate using.
As an author, look for the following before signing a CTA:
These items are negotiable!
See the Conference on Fair Use (CONFU) guidelines proposed in 1998 to address new issues encountered in the digital world when trying to navigate and make "fair use" decisions regarding copyright. (opens a PDF file)
. . . will help you determine whether it's OK to use a piece of copyrighted work:
PURPOSE of the use: do you intend to use the work primarily to teach, research, parody, critique or report?
NATURE of the work used: is it of an educational or news nature? (rather than someone's creative work)
AMOUNT used: do you intend to use only a small, non-core, insignificant portion of the work?
EFFECT of the use: will your use affect the work's market or potential commercial viability (if any)? Is your dissemination of the work minor in scope? Is the licensing or permission to use unduly burdensome or is it simple to obtain? Did you try to get permission? If permission is not obtained or is not clear, did you attribute credit?
[NOTE: this is only a rough guide]
adapted from Checklist for Fair Use (Copyright Management Center, IUPUI (2003))
For more in-depth reading about open access and copyright issues, see: