Week 13: How do we define fair use?

In class on Tuesday, one of the things we discussed was the idea of copyright law and the original intention of copyright law to be leaky for purposes of things such as research fair use and being able to comment on others works. However, one of the areas I have always found rather murky was what exactly falls under fair use. According to copyright.gov, There are four areas that are taken into account when discussing the flexibility of fair use. The first area is whether the copyrighted material is being referenced in a work that is for commercial purposes versus non-profit educational purposes. This first area seems rather straight forward, until the part of about non-profit education material. How does one define whether something is educational enough to fit under fair use laws? Should the educational part of fair use only apply for the purposes of something directly related to school, or should be more loosely interoperated to such things as  Youtube reviews of TV shows? The second area is what exactly is the copyrighted work. This is the most straight forward of the areas to look at. The third area ask how much of the copyrighted work is being used. This is where things get murky again as it is unclear what is the maximum amount of say something like a football game can be used before it is a violation of copyright. The fourth and last area to consider, when determining whether something falls under fair use is what sort of impact at the work that requires fair use can have on the copyrighted work. Despite the intention of copyright laws to be broad to allow for some level of interpretation, this is one area of copyright I wish was better defined. It seems to me the lack of  clear definition of fair use is more to the benefit of the person holding the copyright, as they can ultimately define whether there work is being plagiarized.

Comments are closed.