Tuesday 19 May 2009

Fair use is your friend ...

From Stacey Jackson-Roberts (American University Washington College of Law) comes news that the American University Washington College of Law’s Program on Information Justice and Intellectual Property and AU's Center for Social Media, in collaboration with Stanford Law School's Fair Use Project, are launching a new video explaining how online video creators can make remixes, mashups, and other common online video genres with the knowledge that they are staying within United States copyright law. The video, Remix Culture: Fair Use Is Your Friend, explains the Code of Best Practices in Fair Use for Online Video, a first-of-its-kind document coordinated by AU professors Pat Aufderheide and Peter Jaszi, which outlines what constitutes fair use in online video. The code itself was released July 2008. Pat Aufderheide is quoted as saying: 
“This video lets people know about the code, an essential creative tool, in the natural language of online video. The code protects this emerging zone from censorship and self-censorship. Creators, online video providers, and copyright holders will be able to know when copying is stealing and when it’s legal”. 

Like the code, the video identifies six kinds of unlicensed uses of copyright material that may be considered fair, under certain limitations:

  • Commenting or critiquing of copyright material
  • Use for illustration or example
  • Incidental or accidental capture of copyright material
  • Memorializing or rescuing of an experience or event
  • Use to launch a discussion
  • Recombining to make a new work, such as a mashup or a  remix, whose elements depend on relationships between existing works

For instance, a blogger’s critique of mainstream news is commentary. Adds Jaszi:

 “The fair use doctrine is every bit as relevant in the digital domain as it has been for almost two centuries in the print environment. Here we see again the strong connection between the fair use principle in copyright and the guarantee of freedom of speech in the Constitution”. 

Remix Culture: Fair Use Is Your Friend is a collaborative project of the Program on Information Justice and Intellectual Property—a program of AU's Washington College of Law and the Center for Social Media—a center of AU's School of Communication—along with Stanford Law School's Fair Use Project.  

The 1709 Blog notes that this project has been funded by Google. What inferences, this blogger wonders, may be drawn from this item of information in the light of recent developments involving Google Book?

Comment from Creative Commons here

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