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.

MediaWell Program Officer Molly Laas said of the project, “The experts interviewed by MediaWell celebrated what fair use allows, but also illuminated its complexities: cases where scholars’ research is hampered by platform companies’ terms-of-use agreements, or where fair use might enable the kind of frictionless sharing that spreads misinformation. We would like to thank them for offering their insights.” 

Get involved!

ARL will share the interviews and relevant Fair Use Week content on fairuseweek.org—be sure to check in throughout the week. You can also follow #FairUseWeek, @FairUseWeek, and @ARLPolicy on Twitter. Planning your own event or blog post? Tag #FairUseWeek and @FairUseWeek, and we will include your work in our daily Fair Use Week roundups.

ARL and MediaWell thank the following experts for contributing to this project

  • Alex Abdo, Litigation Director, Knight First Amendment Institute, Columbia University
  • Pat Aufderheide, University Professor, School of Communication, American University
  • Jonathan Band, General Counsel, Association of Research Libraries
  • Sandra Enimil, Copyright Librarian and Contracting Specialist, Yale University Library, and Chair, Association of College and Research Libraries (ACRL) Research and Scholarly Environment Committee
  • Eric Goldman, Associate Dean for Research and Professor, Santa Clara University School of Law
  • Mark Lemley, William Neukom Professor of Law, Stanford Law School, and Senior Fellow, Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research
  • Rina Pantalony, Director, Copyright Advisory Services, Columbia University Libraries
  • Nabiha Syed, President, The Markup
  • Rebekah Tromble, Director, Institute for Data, Democracy & Politics, and Associate Professor, School of Media & Public Affairs, George Washington University