The following is a guest post by Julie Grob, coordinator for instruction in Special Collections at the University of Houston Libraries. This week, we’ll feature posts by members of the UH Libraries Copyright Team highlighting Fair Use/Fair Dealing Week 2016.
What do the rap group 2 Live Crew, kitschy artist Jeff Koons, and pop punk band Green Day have in common? They have all been at the center of legal cases in which their use of an image or a piece of music by another artist was ultimately ruled to be fair use.
In 2 Live Crew’s case, they borrowed the familiar lyrics and bassline from Roy Orbison’s song “Pretty Woman” for their satiric song “Pretty Woman.” Koons incorporated a fashion photo of a woman’s feet clad in sandals in his painting “Niagara.” And Green Day modified a piece of street art by Dereck Seltzer for a video that played onstage during concerts on their 2009-10 tour. In each case, the court ruled in favor of the repurposing creators.
A piece that I wrote for class will be featured in a local art journal, print and online. However, I must submit a final edit within a short deadline. I am nervous to include illustrative images supporting my analysis of a twentieth century artist in relation to the political climate of the time. I fear I don’t have enough time or resources to obtain permissions for all the images.
Congratulations! And good news—you may have good reason to employ fair use, which means you wouldn’t have to ask permission. To help you with your fair use reasoning, look at the Code of Best Practices in the Visual Arts, to understand what other peers do in a similar situation. Your case sounds like situations in Principle One: Analytic Writing, so we encourage you to read this principle first.
To herald Fair Use Week, we’re recalling some of the ways in which creating codes of best practices has changed what people can make and say for the better:
ARTISTS: When the College Art Association (CAA), the largest membership organization representing the visual arts community, released the Code of Best Practices in Fair Use for the Visual Arts in February 2015, visual arts professionals were locked into a permissions culture that delayed their work, raised costs, and most importantly, stifled imagination. Today, only a year later, more than 2/3 of CAA members know about the code, and many have told others or taught the code.
The following is a guest post by Nora Dethloff, assistant head of Information and Access Services at the University of Houston Libraries. This week, we’ll feature posts by members of the UH Libraries Copyright Team highlighting Fair Use/Fair Dealing Week 2016.
Fair Use Week is an annual celebration of the fair use doctrine—part of the US Copyright Law that provides limitations on a copyright owner’s exclusive rights, and by far the most flexible and empowering part of copyright law. It may also be the most misunderstood.
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.