Academic Digital

Copyright: Reclaiming Fair Use

I get asked a lot of questions about copyright, and as a non-lawyer, I have to say that it’s not my strongest area of expertise. I went to a day event at the Institute for Historical Research on copyright whilst undertaking my PhD, and every other sentence was ‘this is guidance, check with the lawyer’ … The following text looks interesting, although largely for US audiences:

This lively book, Reclaiming Fair Use: How to Put Balance Back in Copyright, is designed to liberate people from the “Mind Forg’d Manacles” of copyright law. The authors – film and media scholar Patricia Aufderheide and professor of law and stalwart defender of the public interest Peter Jaszi – hope to help readers “understand how to think about and use copyright, and especially your right to use copyrighted material without permission or payment when you make a work – whether a blog entry, a song, a mashup, a poem, a documentary, a magazine article, a lesson plan, a scholarly archive, a slide show, a technical manual, a scrapbook, a collage, or a brochure”.

The broad and flexible defence of fair use was codified in the US copyright act in 1976. The defence provides that the use of copyright material for “purposes such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching (including multiple copies for classroom use), scholarship, or research, is not an infringement of copyright”. This defence has also been applied in a wide range of cultural and technological contexts.

Read the full article, or buy the book.