Friday, August 17, 2012

What Is Fair Use?

In short, there's no simple answer. But Christiane Cargill Kinney, entertainment law columnist for CD Baby's "DIY Musician" blog, has summed up some key things to consider for those attempting to claim, or combat, "fair use" of a copyrighted work.

The key takeaways are:

1) There is no hard and fast definition of "fair use". "Fair use" is determined by weighing each particular usage against a combination of categories and factors as used by the Courts. Every scenario is unique and may result in differing or inconsistent rulings.

2) There are six major categories of fair use: criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching, scholarship, and research. Usage that falls into one of these categories doesn't guarantee a "fair use", but it's a necessary place to start.

3) There are also four factors to consider when determining "fair use": the purpose and character of the use, the nature of the copyrighted work, the amount and substantiality of the portion used, and the effect of the use upon the potential market. These factors are weighed both individually and collectively. There is no pre-defined combination that guarantees a "fair use" every time.

4) See #1

Learn more about each of the categories and factors on CD Baby's "DIY Musician" blog. It's a fun and informative read!

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