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arrow What is meant by the term "Fair Use"?

"Fair use is a copyright principle based on the belief that the public is entitled to freely use portions of copyrighted materials for purposes of commentary and criticism. For example, if you wish to criticize a novelist, you should have the freedom to quote a portion of the novelist's work without asking permission. Absent this freedom, copyright owners could stifle any negative comments about their work."

"Unfortunately, if the copyright owner disagrees with your fair use interpretation, the dispute will have to be resolved by courts or arbitration." -

The copyright owner doesn't get to decide what is & is not a "fair use."

"Judges use four factors in resolving fair use disputes, which are discussed in detail below. It's important to understand that these factors are only guidelines and the courts are free to adapt them to particular situations on a case-by-case basis. In other words, a judge has a great deal of freedom when making a fair use determination and the outcome in any given case can be hard to predict."

"The four factors judges consider are:

1. the purpose and character of your use

Private non-commercial individual use.

"In a 1994 case, the Supreme Court emphasized this first factor as being a primary indicator of fair use." -

Of course public commercial use is sometimes legally allowable under "fair use." Private non-commercial use in the home would be the most flexible form of "fair use."

2. the nature of the copyrighted work

"In addition, you will have a stronger case of fair use if the material copied is from a published work than an unpublished work." -

Not only published, but sold in retail stores as a commercial product.

3. the amount and substantiality of the portion taken, and Entire.

The Supreme Court in 1984, when considering the taping of entire movies on a VCR already concluded that individuals can copy an entire copyrighted work as a "fair use."

4. the effect of the use upon the potential market. "

Non-existent since copyright owner was paid for the original copy by the indivdiual, thereby has already gotten a "fair return" for the creative labor of the author(s).

The limited scope of the copyright holder's statutory monopoly, like the limited copyright duration required by the Constitution, reflects a balance of competing claims upon the public interest: Creative work is to be encouraged and rewarded, but private motivation must ultimately serve the cause of promoting broad public availability of literature, music, and the other arts. The immediate effect of our copyright law is to secure a fair return for an 'author's' creative labor. But the ultimate aim is, by this incentive, to stimulate artistic creativity for the general public good. 'The sole interest of the United States and the primary object in conferring the monopoly,' this Court has said, 'lie in the general benefits derived by the public from the labors of authors' When technological change has rendered its literal terms ambiguous, the Copyright Act must be construed in light of this basic purpose." -

Credit for the above information goes to Kurttrail and was reproduced here with permission. He has an excellent M$ spoof website, I highly recommend it!

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