Limitations and exceptions to copyright

European output of books before the advent of copyright, 6th century to 18th century. Blue shows printed books. Log-lin plot; a straight line therefore shows an exponential increase.

Limitations and exceptions to copyright are provisions, in local copyright law or Berne Convention, which allow for copyrighted works to be used without a license from the copyright owner.

- Limitations and exceptions to copyright

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Copyright

Type of intellectual property that gives its owner the exclusive right to copy, distribute, adapt, display, and perform a creative work, usually for a limited time.

European output of books before the advent of copyright, 6th century to 18th century. Blue shows printed books. Log-lin plot; a straight line therefore shows an exponential increase.
The Statute of Anne (the Copyright Act 1709) came into force in 1710.
The Pirate Publisher—An International Burlesque that has the Longest Run on Record, from Puck, 1886, satirizes the then-existing situation where a publisher could profit by simply copying newly published works from one country, and publishing them in another, and vice versa.
A copyright symbol used in copyright notice
A copyright symbol embossed on a piece of paper.
Expansion of US copyright law (currently based on the date of creation or publication)
DVD: All rights reserved

A copyright is subject to limitations based on public interest considerations, such as the fair use doctrine in the United States.

TRIPS Agreement

International legal agreement between all the member nations of the World Trade Organization (WTO).

National exceptions to copyright (such as "fair use" in the United States) are constrained by the Berne three-step test.

Public domain

The public domain consists of all the creative work to which no exclusive intellectual property rights apply.

Public domain logo from the Creative Commons Corporation
Newton's own copy of his Principia, with hand-written corrections for the second edition
The 1925 film Go West entered the public domain in the US in 2021 due to expiration of its copyright after 95 years.
Creative Commons' Public Domain Mark
An English logo of the 2018/2019 Public Domain Day in Poland
Visual created for Public Domain Day. Features Leonardo da Vinci's Mona Lisa, as it is famously part of the public domain

However, the usage of the term public domain can be more granular, including for example uses of works in copyright permitted by copyright exceptions.

Fair use

Doctrine in United States law that permits limited use of copyrighted material without having to first acquire permission from the copyright holder.

Joseph Story wrote the opinion in Folsom v. Marsh.
The unpublished nature of J. D. Salinger's letters was a key issue in the court's analysis of the second fair use factor in Salinger v. Random House.
The Ninth Circuit has held that the use of thumbnails in image search engines is fair use.

Although related, the limitations and exceptions to copyright for teaching and library archiving in the U.S. are located in a different section of the statute.

Fair dealing

European output of books before the advent of copyright, 6th century to 18th century. Blue shows printed books. Log-lin plot; a straight line therefore shows an exponential increase.

Fair dealing is a limitation and exception to the exclusive right granted by copyright law to the author of a creative work.

Copyright for Creativity

Intended as a statement of how copyright policy could be constructed in the Internet Age.

European output of books before the advent of copyright, 6th century to 18th century. Blue shows printed books. Log-lin plot; a straight line therefore shows an exponential increase.

The declaration has been written by a group from political party "European People's Party (EPP)" The Declaration focuses on both the exclusive rights and the limitations and exceptions to existing copyright rulings and standards.

Berne three-step test

Clause that is included in several international treaties on intellectual property.

The Moroccan-American Treaty of Peace and Friendship, sealed by Sultan Mohammed III.

Signatories of those treaties agree to standardize possible limitations and exceptions to exclusive rights under their respective national copyright laws.

Copyright infringement

Use of works protected by copyright without permission for a usage where such permission is required, thereby infringing certain exclusive rights granted to the copyright holder, such as the right to reproduce, distribute, display or perform the protected work, or to make derivative works.

An advertisement for copyright and patent preparation services from 1906, when copyright registration formalities were still required in the US.
Pirated edition of German philosopher Alfred Schmidt (Amsterdam, ca. 1970)
A common explanation for why copyright infringement isn't theft is that the original copyright holder still possesses the work they made, unlike the theft of an object.
Demonstration in Sweden in support of file sharing, 2006
The Pirate Bay logo, a retaliation to the stereotypical image of piracy
The BitTorrent protocol: In this animation, the colored bars beneath all of the seven clients in the upper region above represent the file, with each color representing an individual piece of the file. After the initial pieces transfer from the seed (large system at the bottom), the pieces are individually transferred from client to client. The original seeder only needs to send out one copy of the file for all the clients to receive a copy.

The laws implementing these limitations and exceptions for uses that would otherwise be infringing broadly fall into the categories of either fair use or fair dealing.

Parody

Creative work designed to imitate, comment on, and/or make fun of its subject by means of satiric or ironic imitation.

, persiflage on the tulip mania, by Jan Brueghel the Younger (1640s)
Satirical political cartoon that appeared in Puck magazine, October 9, 1915. Caption "I did not raise my girl to be a voter" parodies the anti-World War I song "I Didn't Raise My Boy To Be A Soldier". A chorus of disreputable men support a lone anti-suffrage woman.
Reggie Brown, a voice actor and Barack Obama impersonator

Although a parody can be considered a derivative work of a pre-existing, copyrighted work, some countries have ruled that parodies can fall under copyright limitations such as fair dealing, or otherwise have fair dealing laws that include parody in their scope.

Right to quote

European output of books before the advent of copyright, 6th century to 18th century. Blue shows printed books. Log-lin plot; a straight line therefore shows an exponential increase.

Right to quote or right of quotation or quotation right is one of the copyright exceptions provided by the Berne Convention, article 10: "It shall be permissible to make quotations ... provided that their making is compatible with fair practice, and their extent does not exceed that justified by the purpose".