Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Four Good Resources on Fair Use

One of the best recources anyone has when it comes to creating for web sites, blogs, newsletters, podcasts, and other content is the concept of fair use. Under some circumstances, the concept of fair use gives you the right to use copyrighted material without permission or payment.

Three publications from American University's Center for Social Media provide a very good overveiw of many fair use issues that should interest creators of online content.

Code of Best Practices in Fair Use for Online Video helps helps creators, online providers, copyright holders, and others interested in the making of online video interpret the copyright doctrine of fair use.

This document also tackles some common myths about fair use:

- If I'm not making any money off it it's fair use.
- If I'm making any money off it (or trying to), it's not fair use.
- Fair use can't be entertaining.
- If I try to license material, I've given up my chance to use fair use.
- I really need a lawyer to make the call on fair use.

The study Recut, Reframe, Recycle: Quoting Copyrighted Material in User-Generated Video brings some order to the legal chaos that is user-generated video. Because of easily available editing tools like iMovie, and easy publication options like YouTube, all kinds of coyprighted work ends up in other people's videos. Using many well known online videos like The Evolution of Dance and Leave Britney Alone, this study describes nine common ways that people use the work of others in ways that may fit within the limits of fair use.

The video The Remix Culture: Video Fair Use Is Your Friend (see below), explains why the Code for Fair Use in Online Video got created, and how the Code can help you create online videos that employ fair use of copyrighted material.

Other resources that may be of interest include the Documentary Filmmakers' Statement of Fair Use, which discusses what documentary filmmakers currently regard as reasonable application of the fair use doctrine.

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