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Not Sorry for Certiorari: 7th Circuit breaks from trend of prioritizing “transformative use” in fair use defense to copyright infringement

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.

Jessica Vosgerchian
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Tech Law & You Honors Fair Use Week

Post by Chelsea Brooks, Student Attorney, Samuelson-Gluskho Tech Law & Policy Clinic

This week the Samuelson-Gluskho Tech Law & Policy Clinic celebrates fair use in this semester’s inagural podcast. Student Attorney Chelsea Brooks, and Student Technologist Jeffrey Ward-Bailey present an interview with Ian Hales. Ian is an instructor of Technology, Arts & Media (TAM) at the University of Colorado in Boulder. Ian teaches sections of TAM’s introductory projects course, as well as the majority of the senior capstone courses within his department. Additionally, he teaches specialized electives in both motion-based design and social media management. 

Chelsea Brooks
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What else can be said about fair use?

Post by Carrie Russell, Director, Program on Public Access to Information, American Library Association

In honor of Fair Use Week 2015, and because I have been talking and writing about fair use for a long time, I thought I would tell you a couple of stories that I encountered on my fair use journey.

Carrie Russell
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Self-censorship: The (way-too-common) result of copyright confusion

Post by Gretchen McCord, JD, MSIS, Digital Information Law

The following is an excerpt from “Copyright: What We Don’t Know Does Hurt Us,” originally published in The Copyright & New Media Law Newsletter 18:3 (2014).


For those of us who teach copyright law and regularly advise both creators and users of protectable content, it comes as no surprise to hear that confusion and misunderstanding about copyright are quite common and that the resulting fear of making mistakes in interpreting the law leads to overly conservative applications of the law.  This probably does not surprise most of you readers, either.

Gretchen McCord, JD, MSIS
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