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Communications researchers in the U.S., who routinely analyze copyrighted material, both qualitatively and quantitatively, face challenges from strict copyright. The doctrine of fair use permits some unpermissioned use of copyrighted works. Survey research shows that researchers routinely need access to copyrighted material; that they are often unsure or confused, even unknowing, about fair use; and that this lack of knowledge and/or familiarity leads to both failure to execute and failure to initiate, or “imagination foregone.” Creating a best practices code has improved knowledge but more institutional change is needed for knowledge to inform action.