News & Blog Posts

Sandra Enimil headshot.

Relying on Fair Use to Reach Intended Audiences

By Sandra Enimil

For Fair Use Week 2022, the Association of Research Libraries (ARL) teamed up with the Social Science Research Council (SSRC) #MediaWell project and asked experts to weigh in on how fair use supports research, news, and truth. Sandra Enimil, copyright librarian and contracting specialist at Yale University Library and chair of the Association of College and Research Libraries (ACRL) Research and Scholarly Environment Committee, shares below how fair use helps information reach intended audiences. 

Note: This post was transcribed from a conversation and lightly edited.

When you look at the actual statute about fair use, Section 107 of the Copyright Act, it calls out news reporting by name. It states that it would not be an infringement of copyright to reuse some content in the course of news reporting—it’s specifically called out. So, I think that our legislative branch recognized that people who are in the business of reporting need to be able to use content, sometimes in ways that it was intended to be used, and sometimes in ways that it was not intended to be used, in order to tell stories. Reporters need to be able to tell stories in a way that provides information, in a way that might meet their audience where they are, or have an impact, or be accessible to an audience.

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Sandra Enimil headshot.

Fair Use and the Scholarly Environment

By Sandra Enimil

For Fair Use Week 2022, the Association of Research Libraries (ARL) teamed up with the Social Science Research Council (SSRC) #MediaWell project and asked experts to weigh in on how fair use supports research, news, and truth. Sandra Enimil, copyright librarian and contracting specialist at Yale University Library and chair of the Association of College and Research Libraries (ACRL) Research and Scholarly Environment Committee, explains below how the copyright environment affects research and scholarship, and why this matters for society. 

Note: This post was transcribed from a conversation and lightly edited.

I am the chair of ACRL’s Research and Scholarly Environment Committee, and one of the things that we work on is talking about scholarship in academic institutions and how people make scholarship available and open access. In this landscape, I think one of the things that people recognize as important is author copyright. With faculty authors, at most institutions, the institution doesn’t claim copyright in their scholarly works, so the author keeps copyright.

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Two Questions on Fair Use: Interview with Mark Lemley

For this year’s Fair Use/Fair Dealing Week, MediaWell is partnering with the Association of Research Libraries to interview experts reflecting on how fair use supports research, journalism, and truth. This is the first of MediaWell’s four-part series, entitled “Two Questions on Fair Use” in which we ask Mark Lemley, William Neukom Professor of Law at Stanford Law School and senior fellow at the Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research, some questions about the legal history of fair use, and how fair use supports research and teaching. The transcript has been lightly edited for clarity.

Read the interview on MediaWell’s website.

How does fair use support journalism, specifically documentary filmmaking, data-driven reporting, news content, and aggregation?

I think the answer is fair use has sort of long been integral to all kinds of journalism and reporting. You can go back decades; you can go back almost a century to some remarkable cases. For example, there was a case in which somebody who wanted to tell the story of the Kennedy assassination broke in and got copies of stills from the Zapruder film, which was the only visual evidence of the Kennedy assassination. When the copyright owner sued, the court said, “that’s fair use because you’re taking a copyrighted work for purposes related to the public interest.” I think that has been true across a wide array of news and media communications. There are often circumstances in which there is one key source: somebody took a video of a beating or a shooting, for example, or the key source is itself an official document.

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Fair Use Supports Research, Journalism, and Truth

By Katherine Klosek

For #FairUseWeek 2022, the Association of Research Libraries (ARL) teamed up with the Social Science Research Council (SSRC) #MediaWell project to ask experts to reflect on how fair use supports research and journalism, and how fair use can help combat misinformation, for example on social media. 

The interviews reveal how libraries play a critical role in the ecosystem of research, journalism, and truth by collecting and preserving source material, and making information available for researchers and journalists to cite facts, and quote original sources. Journalists rely on fair use everyday; fair use preserves the constitutionality of copyright by allowing journalists to express their First Amendment rights. Fair use also enables the reproducibility of science by allowing peers to access, interrogate, and build on research outputs like data, methodology, and findings that may be protected by copyright.

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How Fair Use Helps Bloggers Publish Their Research

By Eric Goldman

Bloggers play an increasingly important role in the research ecosystem, especially as investigative journalism has declined. Bloggers often pay attention to issues that are too niche-y or esoteric for mainstream media coverage, and bloggers can provide expert commentary and repositories of source materials on fast-moving topics.

Publishing these materials can create substantial legal risk for research-focused bloggers, including the risk of copyright infringement. Unfortunately, many bloggers do not have the same financial resources, access to lawyers, or insurance coverage as institutional publishers, so they are less likely to defend their works in the face of allegations of copyright infringement.

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Libraries, Universities, and Civil Society Groups to Celebrate Fair Use/Fair Dealing Week 2022 on February 21–25

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photo of Fair Use Week t-shirt

Fair Use/Fair Dealing Week 2021 Reminds Us That Fair Use Is a Right

Last week more than 50 universities, associations, and organizations celebrated the eighth annual Fair Use/Fair Dealing Week, a celebration of these critical copyright doctrines that foster scholarship and creativity. Fair use in the US and fair dealing in Canada allow the public to lawfully use copyrighted materials without asking for permission. Described by Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg as a built-in accommodation to the First Amendment, fair use provides a balance of rights between creators and users that is critical to the constitutional purpose of copyright: to promote the progress of science and useful arts. We celebrated each day of Fair Use Week with virtual activities, new resources, and insights and expertise to empower libraries, teachers, educators, and the public about the right of fair use. Three new projects launched during Fair Use Week, which we are excited to showcase here.

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