What is Fair Use Week?

Each day teachers teach, students learn, researchers advance knowledge, and consumers access copyrighted information due to exemptions in copyright law, such as fair use in the United States or fair dealing in Canada and other jurisdictions.

Fair use and fair dealing allow the use of copyrighted materials without permission from the copyright holder under certain circumstances. For libraries, educational institutions, and the public, the fair use doctrine is the most important limitation on the rights of the copyright owner—the “safety valve” of US copyright law.

Fair Use Week is an annual celebration of the doctrine of fair use and fair dealing. It celebrates the important role fair use plays in achieving the Constitutional purpose of intellectual property rights in the US: to promote the progress of science and the useful arts. The flexible nature of the fair use doctrine has permitted copyright to adapt to new technologies and changes. Similarly, in Canada, fair dealing is a critical right of the user intended to facilitate balance in copyright law and accommodate freedom of expression.

While Fair Use Week 2015 will be celebrated February 23–27, we believe that every week is fair use week. Indeed, fair use is employed on a daily basis by students, faculty, librarians, journalists, and all users of copyrighted material. Fair Use Week is simply a time to promote and discuss the opportunities presented by fair use, celebrate successful fair use stories, and explain the doctrine.

When is Fair Use Week?

Fair Use Week 2015 will take place from Monday, February 23, through Friday, February 27. People can participate on a single day during the week, multiple days, or the full week.

How can I participate in Fair Use Week?

The level of participation in Fair Use Week is entirely up to each participant. Some will publish a blog post on fair use on one day during the week, while others might host events each day of the week. Below are some examples of ways to participate in Fair Use Week 2015:

  • Write a blog post on fair use.
  • Publish an op-ed.
  • Host a live panel on fair use at your campus, institution, or organization.
  • Host a webcast or webinar.
  • Create a video about fair uses.
  • Publicize fair use on social media using the hashtag #fairuseweek2015.
    (On Twitter, you can also follow and tag @fairuseweek.)
  • Submit fair use success stories for the Fair Use Week blog on Tumblr to Kyle Courtney (kyle_courtney@harvard.edu)

More information

Visit http://www.fairuseweek.org (site coming soon) or e-mail krista@arl.org for additional information. The website will be continually updated with information, a calendar of events, and links to blog posts, webcasts, activities, and resources.