“The crux of the profit/nonprofit distinction is not whether the sole motive of the use is monetary gain but whether the user stands to profit from exploitation of the copyrighted material without paying the customary price.” Harper & Row Publishers v. Nation Enterprises, 471 U.S. 539, 562 (1985).
Commercial Purpose – Example
Basic Books, Inc. v. Kinko's Graphics Corporation, 758 F. Supp. 132 (S.D.N.Y. 1991) - Kinko's photocopied excerpts from books, compiled them into course packs, and sold them to college students for a profit.
Noncommercial Purpose – Example
NRA of Am. v. Handgun Control Fed'n of Ohio, 15 F.3d 559 (6th CIr. 1994) - The NRA sent newsletters to its members urging opposition to gun control legislation. The Handgun Control Federation of Ohio (HCF), a non-profit organization, photocopied material from the NRA newsletters and included that material in mailings to HCF’s members urging support of gun control legislation. HCF used the material only to further its own lobbying goals. HCF made no attempt to sell the material. The material was used primarily in exercising HCF’s First Amendment speech rights to comment on public issues and to petition the government regarding legislation.