Thursday, February 26, 2015

What is Fair Use?

Fair Use Week, February 23-27, 2015, is an annual celebration of the important doctrines of fair use and fair dealing. It is designed to highlight and promote the opportunities presented by fair use and fair dealing, celebrate successful stories, and explain these doctrines.

So, what IS fair use? Fair use and fair dealing allow the use of copyrighted materials without permission from the copyright holder under certain circumstances. For libraries, educational institutions, and the public, the fair use doctrine is the most important limitation on the rights of the copyright owner--the "safety valve" of US copyright law. 

Each day teachers teach, students learn, researchers advance knowledge, and consumers access copyrighted information due to the exemptions in copyright law, such as fair use in the United States or fair dealing in Canada and other jurisdictions. It's why you can make that copy of a magazine article for your personal use. You aren't using it for any profit nor are you depriving the copyright owner of additional profit.

Fair Use Week is a celebration? It celebrates the important role fair use plays in achieving the Consitutional purpose of intellectual property rights in the US: to promote the progress of science and the useful arts. The flexible nature of fair use doctrine has permitted copyright to adapt to new technologies and changes. Similarly, in Canada, fair dealing is a critical right of the user intended to facilitate
balance in copyright law and accommodate freedom of expression.

Thanks to the Association of Research Libraries Fair Use Week website for the content of this blog!