In the increasingly complex and combative arena of copyright in the digital age, record companies sue college students over peer-to-peer music sharing, YouTube removes home movies because of a song playing in the background, and filmmakers are denied a distribution deal when some permissions “i” proves undottable. Patricia Aufderheide and Peter Jaszi chart a clear path through the confusion by urging a robust embrace of a principle long-embedded in copyright law, but too often poorly understood—fair use. By challenging the widely held notion that current copyright law has become unworkable and obsolete in the era of digital technologies, Reclaiming Fair Use promises to reshape the debate in both scholarly circles and the creative community. This indispensable guide distills the authors’ years of experience advising documentary filmmakers, English teachers, performing arts scholars, and other creative professionals into no-nonsense advice and practical examples for content producers. Reclaiming Fair Use begins by surveying the landscape of contemporary copyright law—and the dampening effect it can have on creativity—before laying out how the fair-use principle can be employed to avoid copyright violation. Finally, Aufderheide and Jaszi summarize their work with artists and professional groups to develop best practice documents for fair use and discuss fair use in an international context. Appendixes address common myths about fair use and provide a template for creating the reader’s own best practices. Reclaiming Fair Use will be essential reading for anyone concerned with the law, creativity, and the ever-broadening realm of new media.
Patricia Aufderheide is professor in the School of Communication at American University and director of the Center for Social Media. She is the author of, most recently, Documentary: A Very Short Introduction. Peter Jaszi is professor of domestic and international copyright law at the Washington College of Law, American University, where he directs the Glushko-Samuelson Intellectual Property Law Clinic. He is the coauthor of Copyright Law.
“Here, [Aufderheide and Jaszi] offer sound advice on users'' rights to copyrighted material in their survey of fair use, a "safety valve" built into copyright law. They remind readers that copyright was created to benefit the public, not to enrich producers. . . . This is a useful work—thoughtful, clear, and generally free of legal jargon—and deserves to be read by scholars, bloggers, documentarians, journalists, and everyone else, since we are all touched daily by copyrights.”—Library Journal
“Reclaiming Fair Use will be an important and widely read book that scholars of copyright law will find a ‘must have’ for their bookshelves. It is a sound interpretation of the law and offers useful guidance to the creative community that goes beyond what some of the most ideological books about copyright tend to say.”—Pamela Samuelson, University of California, Berkeley School of Law
“If you only read one book about copyright this year, read Reclaiming Fair Use. It is the definitive history of the cataclysmic change in the custom and practice surrounding the fair use of materials by filmmakers and other groups.”—Michael C. Donaldson, Partner, Donaldson & Callif
-Michael C. Donaldson
“The Supreme Court has told us that fair use is one of the ‘traditional safeguards’ of the First Amendment. As this book makes abundantly clear, nobody has done better work making sure that safeguard is actually effective than Aufderheide and Jaszi. The day we have a First Amendment Hall of Fame, their names should be there engraved in stone.”—Lewis Hyde, Richard L. Thomas Professor of Creative Writing, Kenyon College
“Reclaiming Fair Use is clear, accessible and pithy and will be particularly helpful for creative artists, copyright users and legal neophytes.”—Times Higher Education
“A pragmatic, lucid explanation of how to improve the balance in copyright laws.”—Nation
“Brimming with highly readable, real world examples.”—Publishers Weekly