This week is Fair Use Week, an annual international celebration in which sites all around the web will be talking about the important legal doctrines of fair use and fair dealing, which are the copyright laws that make transformative works legal. This week’s activities are designed to highlight and promote the opportunities presented by fair use and fair dealing, celebrate successful stories, and help explain and promote wider understanding of these doctrines.
This year for Fair Use Week, the Organization for Transformative Works will be hosting a Virtual Q&A, and we want your questions! Ask OTW Legal anything about the law of fair use and fair dealing and how they relate to fandom and fanworks. Every question you were afraid to ask: now is the time to ask it! (With one exception: we can’t give you personal legal advice.) So ask away! Send your questions to Legal@Transformativeworks.org and we’ll answer your questions in public posts.
The “Fair Use in a Day in the Life of a College Student” infographic is freely available as a PDF to embed on blogs and websites and to print and hand out at events. Share the link, embed the PDF on your site, print copies for your next event, and continue to support and work with your campus partners on promoting fair use.
Post by Molly Schwartz, Associate Fellow, R Street Institute
Is it legal for me to publish a blog post with this title? Am I violating copyright law? I am, after all, reusing lyrics from the chorus of a popular Beatles song. The recognizability and cultural resonance of the lyrics is exactly what makes it an appealing title for me to use.
Jessica Vosgerchian is a 3L at Harvard Law School and a Copyright Fellow for the Harvard Office for Scholarly Communication. She has worked on copyright issues in the public and private sectors.
Last September, the Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit diverged from the judicial trend of treating “transformative use” as the most important element in the test to determine whether a defendant’s use of another’s work was fair, and so not infringement under the Copyright Act. In Kienitz v. Sconnie Nation LLC, 766 F.3d 756 (7th Cir. 2014) (Kienitz II), the Court affirmed the lower court’s holding that the defendants’ manipulation of a photo for a t-shirt design constituted fair use but employed a different interpretation of the fair use test.