Fair Use Act of 2007

The Fair Use Act of 2007 pertains to laws that allows creators to use copyrighted materials if they're changed in some way. The policy surrounding copyright laws does not only protect the rights of those who own the property. If a person promotes art or science in a useful manner, that person may use copyrighted material, even though he or she is not the owner or has no ties to the property itself. Because of the allowance of owners to defend their rights, this would hamper any progress. Therefore, Congress and the courts have instituted a fair use doctrine to allow the use of copyrighted material that’s beneficial to the public in some fashion. Such entitles also fall under First Amendment protections.

Drawbacks of Fair Use

Fair Use does not always allow you to use another person’s work, especially to make a profit from the intellectual property. However, a piece of work that contributes to the public can be considered fair use. For instance, a piece of work that uses an IP but contributes to public discourse qualifies as fair use. Another example would be a person uploading a copyrighted video on Youtube. Even though the uploader does not own the IP, providing commentary on that video adds to public discourse and adheres to the standards of fair use. Other factors quality as fair use, such as:

  • Criticism
  • News reporting
  • Research
  • Teaching
  • Scholarship

When getting into further detail, keep in mind the following:

  • Nature of the IP
  • The aim and nature of the use, especially if it is nonprofit or commercial oriented
  • The sustainable and amount of the part used pertaining to the copyrighted work
  • An effect in any market value of the work

It should be noted that there is no real test in determining what constitutes Fair Use, and a court could still side with a copyright creator, even though you thought your project or work of art qualified as fair use. Moreover, sole rights granted via the Copyright Act are restricted by various statue and Constitutional restrictions regarding copyright law. The most common use of such restrictions is known as fair use. With that, copyright states establish more than ten distinct restrictions regarding copyright law. The doctrine pertaining to fair use has developed throughout the years as the courts attempted to balance the rights of IP owners with societal interest in the copying of protected IPs. However, the copying or use of copyrighted material is very limited in scope, and those operating under Fair Use do not always get the protections they thought they had.

Core Fair Use

The idea of fair use holds an important belief that not all replications should be restricted, especially in socially vital endeavors pertaining to research, teaching, news reporting, etc. Even though the doctrine was established via the courts, it is also included within the Copyright Act. The largest amount of confusion from the Fair Use Act stems from the name. It’s goal was to reform the anti-circumvention measures regarding the DMCA, but does not directly address the fair use section of the Copyright Act. However, the Fair Use Act does not ignore fair use entirely. Instead, the Fair Use Act introduces an exception to the anti-circumvention statues that’s not as broad as fair use. With that, it would create a defense to charges of a circumvention that appears to be fair use.

Transformative Nature

To apply fair use properly, keep in mand that your work must be transformative in nature. For instance, if you decide to upload a movie trailer on your Youtube channel, you must provide some type of commentary over the video or change it in some way. Showing a copyrighted video in its entirety without providing insightful commentary constitutes a copyright violation. Talking and reacting to a movie trailer qualifies as fair use because you’re contributing to the public discourse in some fashion.

Even though transformative use is not entirely necessary, remember that the more transformative the work the more likely it will fall under fair use. The courts may also rule against you if your fair use was commercial in nature. A judge could therefore rule that you exploited a copyrighted work for commercial gain. With that, the courts will simply not rule against you because you profited from the work in a certain capacity.

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