Re: Fair Use Law

Subject: Re: Fair Use Law
From: Tracy Boyington <tracy_boyington -at- OKVOTECH -dot- ORG>
Date: Wed, 17 Dec 1997 08:10:41 -0600

Smokey Lynne L Bare wrote:

> "The Copyright Act of 1976, as amended in 1992, authorizes any person to
> make 'fair use' of a published or unpublished copyrighted work--including
> the making of unauthorized copies--in these contexts:
> * in connection with criticism of or comment on the work
> * in the course of news reporting
> * for teaching purposes, or
> * as part of scholarship or research activity.

I'm confused... first you said everything is in the public domain until
it's published, and now you're talking about fair use. I don't
understand the connection. Was the writer of the original post asking
about fair use? If so, I recommend that person undertake some *serious*
research into the history of fair use cases... it's not as cut-and-dried
as people may think (I've run into too many teachers who think the
educational aspect of fair use means you can buy one textbook and make a
copy for each student... not true!)

> Bottom line...I believe it is a case by case scenario.

Of course each case claiming to be "fair use" must be judged on an
individual basis (as an interesting aside, Kinko's and many other copy
shops have stopped copying *anything* that has a copyright notation
after losing a fair use lawsuit -- this was an unpleasant surprise to
many instructors who were accustomed to compiling packages of chapters
from different books and suddenly found out it was not legal.) But that
has nothing to do with the fact that your works are automatically
protected by copyright. Fair use simply lets you use someone else's
copyrighted works -- it does not mean they are not copyrighted. If they
weren't protected by copyright, you wouldn't need the exemption to the
law provided by the fair use policy.

Tracy Boyington tracy_boyington -at- okvotech -dot- org
Oklahoma Department of Vocational and Technical Education
Stillwater, OK, USA
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