Legal Notifications.

 
 

March 28, 2011

WHAT IS FAIR USE?

Practical Guidelines.

We understand the copyright law to mean something like this:

1. Copyright does not allow one to own ideas, plots, or other building blocks.

2. But it does permit one to own particular expressions. If you know you are copying another’s work, then admit it, and ask: “What am I going to do about this?” “Fair use” is a broad privilege that allows one to copy another’s expression in a parody, in a critique, and in a range of other ways. The key is overall fairness. 17 U. S. C. § 107 states factors as guides: What is my purpose? What type of work am I copying? How does that serve my work? Am I taking more than necessary? What effect will my work have on the market of the other fellow’s work? In addition, there are other considerations of fairness, such as creation of a parody, transforming a work, or providing a necessary service, like a Web search tool.

  1. 3.These rules are intended great room for anyone to use ideas and make fair use of copyrighted expressions. This allows for a dynamic creative environment.

 

WE make every effort to comply with courteous social mores and the law. The law, simplified, appears to us to require that a site not invade copyright, defame, or injure one’s privacy. The postings have not been edited. They are to a minimal degree selected. With regard to copyright, of course, each contributor is urged to act with full attention to fair use. 17 United States Code 107.

“The life of the law has not been logic: it has been experience.”

Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr., The Common Law  (1881).

Justice William O. Douglas, Wikimedia Commons

Visiting a friend in Texas, we went into a sandwich shop. My friend noticed a fellow at a table and took me over to meet him. He said to his friend, who was a Justice of the Peace, “Everett, I’d like you to meet Justice Douglas.” The man jumped right up,grabbed my hand heartily and said, “Pleased to meet ya, Judge Douglas. Why I thought I knew every dad-gummed Justice of the Peace in west Texas!”*


*Story related by Douglas. Apocryphal? You be the judge.

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