Fair Use Jurisprudence 2019–2021

By Jack Lerner, Luke Hartman, and Jordin Wilcher

Cross-posted at

We are excited to celebrate Fair Use Week with a new report from the UC Irvine Intellectual Property, Arts, and Technology (IPAT) Clinic: Fair Use Jurisprudence 2019–2021: A Comprehensive Review. The report presents the results of an exhaustive study of recent fair use opinions issued by US federal courts in copyright infringement cases.

Copyright covers a huge range of expressive activity and is automatic. Just about anyone who wants to do more than read, watch, or use a work relies on the doctrine of fair use in order to avoid liability for copyright infringement. The US Supreme Court has referred to fair use as a sort of safety valve that provides breathing space allowing copyright to coexist with freedom of expression. And it is an evolving doctrine; disputes concerning fair use are constantly working their way through the American legal system, but the vast majority of cases don’t make the news despite their importance to creative expression and innovation.

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A Sample of Fair Use

By Sandra Aya Enimil

Music sampling has been, and is, a critical fixture and feature of hip-hop. Hip-hop is an amalgamation of music, music mixing, dance, graphic art, and a specific clothing aesthetic. Lovers of hip-hop music and copyright have followed and studied the impact of copyright law on the genre, particularly how hip-hop musical artists (MCs) have engaged fair use.

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Dalhousie Fair Dealing Guidelines

Dalhousie University

Under the Copyright Act, express permission of the copyright owner is required before making copies or distributing works, with some exceptions. These guidelines outline the framework for operating under one of these exceptions – “fair dealing” for the purposes of research, private study, review, criticism or news reporting, education, parody and satire. These guidelines outline the limits and requirements for making paper and electronic copies of a portion of a published work by individuals for their own use, by faculty for use in their courses of study and by libraries for the use of their patrons.

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Controlled Digital Lending Feedback Tool

Authors Alliance

Authors Alliance is gathering feedback from authors about Controlled Digital Lending (“CDL”) in order to strengthen our advocacy work and better represent your interests. Several of our members have already shared their views on how CDL helps authors and researchers, and we are now asking you to add your voice by completing this short form.

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Strengthening Canadian User Rights through Shared Understanding: Adapting the Codes of Best Practices in Fair Use for Canada

Canadian Association of Research Libraries (CARL)

In this paper, we argue that while fair dealing is not a carbon copy of fair use, it is similar enough that many of the principles and limitations set out in the many codes of best practices in fair use published in the United States would be applicable in the Canadian context.

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