Limitations on Fair Use

Fair Use does NOT conquer all!

There are several other restrictions on your use of items that have been created by others: licensed materials; 'consumables' such as tests, surveys, exercises; and commercial educational packages. Your use of these materials are governed by license and purchase agreements.

Licenses and Negotiations


In all cases, when an item is licensed rather than purchased, the terms of the license takes precedence over Fair Use.  Do read the restrictions of any licensed product if you are going to share it in any way with others.   Be especially careful about software applications and software educational programs, tutorials, self-assessments, etc.  Any copying and redistribution of these items will most likely have to be negotiated with the publisher or copyright holder.  This is also true of web sites that require a license for use. You must restrict access as agreed with the copyright holder.  Most Library resources are covered by license and must be restricted. This includes some of the electronic journals, databases, and image collections.

But, don't be unnecessarily intimidated.  You may call and negotiate with the publisher or you may call on the Library to help with this.

Tests, Surveys, Exercises

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Some educational materials, collectively called consumables, are items or instruments that were created to be used or taken.  Examples of consumables include workbooks, surveys and questionnaires, exercise sheets, and tests and test questions. They are not covered by Fair Use, and you may not use them or distribute them without permission even once.   The intent of this limitation of Fair Use is to allow the creator of an instrument that is meant to be 'taken' (or 'consumed') to control its use through either purchase or permission. 

Because the vast majority of test questions in medical education are factual, it is, of course, impossible to avoid having questions that will be similar or identical to questions created by others.  It would take a lot of creative work to AVOID having similar questions.  However, vignettes and case presentation question types represent a lot of creative effort and may not to be used without permission.  It is not okay to just change names or numerical values and call it your own.  You can take the general idea of a question and recreate your own question. 

The UAMS Library has licensed several sources of test questions that are available for you and your students to use freely. For example, Access Medicine allows instructors to use the questions found in their Lange educational textbooks.

Commercial Educational Packages 

You may not use educational packages that are sold or licensed commercially without either purchasing or licensing them or getting permission for their use.  These packages or programs may originate with a commercial company or they may be the work of faculty at other institutions. If you sell a package you have created, please make sure that you retain the right (get it in writing) to use the program at your institution and to take it with you for use at another institution.  Otherwise, you may end up paying to purchase or license your own work for your use with students! 

Often there is a lot of negotiating that goes on in licensing or purchasing educational packages, especially online, DVD, or CD-ROM packages. You may call on the Library to help in negotiations.   

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