It’s time to step back and appreciate the importance of the Fair Use doctrine in copyright law.
Copyright is a set of exclusive legal rights granted to the creators of works that allows them to control the copying, reuse, redistribution, creation of derivatives, and performance of their works. While copyright allows creators to benefit from their works, particularly financially, it also has some important limitations that benefit the public, including term limits and the public domain.
Fair Use is one of these important legal limitations, and it allows for the use of copyrighted materials without permission under certain circumstances. It is an interpretation of one’s use of copyrighted material, where the benefits of use outweigh the exclusive rights of the copyright holder. Fair Use is an important public benefit; the reuse of existing cultural and scientific materials is an integral part of creating new works, conducting new research, teaching, and engaging in discourse. As Kenneth Crews notes in his post to kick off Fair Use Week at Harvard University, “Fair use is an essential complement to the rights of owners, and it completes the circle of creative incentives.”
Read the rest of this Scholarly Communications post* by Rebecca Reznik-Zellen.
Go to: Fair Use Week website
*February 23, 2015 / Rebecca Reznik-Zellen / Head, Research and Scholarly Communication Services / Lamar Soutter Library / University of Massachusetts Medical School.