When do you most frequently encounter copyright law? Is it when you click on a YouTube video and you find — uh oh — that it’s been taken down at the request of the owner?
In fact, we use an important part of our copyright law every day when we engage in “criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching (including multiple copies for classroom use), scholarship, or research” without paying or asking permission from copyright owners.
U.S. Code Title 17, Chapter 1, § 107 describes “fair use”, the part of copyright law that allows principals to parody whole songs from Disney’s Frozen and Teen Vogue to embed tweets in their article about ice skater Maé-Bérénice Méité’s costume change during the Olympics. It’s fair use that allows you to make a meme, quote a paragraph from a book in your paper, or use a clip from a movie in your classroom. In short, we use copyright law every day!
This year, the Association of Research Libraries has put out a handy infographic on the many ways our fair use right is crucial to innovation, creativity, and scholarship. You can see it at: fair-use-infographic-2018-accessible
At Gleeson Library, we’re screening a webinar featuring Harvard Copyright Advisor Kyle Courtney. He’ll talk about court cases related to fan fiction and fair use such as the recently settled Star Trek case, Paramount Pictures v. Axanar, the JK Rowling/Harry Potter lawsuit, and Warner Brothers v. RDR Books.