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Reclaiming Fair Use: How to Put Balance Back in Copyright [Kindle Edition]

Patricia Aufderheide , Peter Jaszi
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)

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Book Description

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.

Editorial Reviews


"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, author of Common as Air: Revolution, Art, and Ownership"


“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 20100322)

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 20110404)

“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 )

“Engaging and informative. . . . Reclaiming Fair Use is a must (PsycCRITIQUES )

Product Details

  • File Size: 416 KB
  • Print Length: 216 pages
  • Publisher: University of Chicago Press (July 15, 2011)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B0060795IA
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #767,314 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
4.6 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fair dealing May 28, 2012
Copyright has hit the headlines this year for the problems of digitisation. The book by Aufderheide and Jaszi addreses these problems, and more, in a concise and readable way, although it has to be said that it is a book by americans for the US market. In the UK, the equivalent concept is "fair dealing". The idea that one can copy parts of a copyright text or image without consulting the copyright holder is a very old one, because how else can one criticize or comment on a work without doing so? Indeed, by quoting a text in a review, say, it is giving publicity to a book and so maybe helping its sales, which must be good for the copyright owners, usually the author and the publisher. Digitisation has brought the concept into focus owing to the ease of copying and broadcasting that work to the whole world over the internet. That has not only raised the old problem of wholesale piracy but also how far fair use can go within the confines of the law. One particular problem arose from the large scale scanning of books by Google, which made them available on its website. For old books where the author is long dead (Dickens, Shakespeare etc), there is no problem, but since copyright is a long lasting right (70 years after the death of the author), there is a problem for more recent in-copyright works. This is why there is a major unresolved dispute between authors and Google. But yet the same company uses the doctrine of fair use in its search pages. For example, thumbnails of images are an essential part of the image search, to which no author objects at all. Without fair use, we would have no image search at all. But there is mounting evidence that copyright is being abused by major copyright holders, or indeed, some non-copyright holders. Read more ›
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Absolute Vital Reading for Documentary Filmmakers! September 12, 2011
By Bill C
Reclaiming Fair Use is an extremely valuable scholarly work in the field of copyright law. It allows documentary filmmakers, educators and others to develop their own balanced, legal, common sense guidelines for fair use of copyright works. Filled with many examples of legal case studies and "best practices" guidelines for many fields, it deserves a place alongside the excellent books written on the subject by Michael Donaldson.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Easy to Understand and Informative October 30, 2013
Format:Kindle Edition
Fair use and copyrights in general can be a complicated subject, but the authors did an excellent job explaining the content and issues. Do not need a legal background. Would recommend to anyone who has an interest in the subject or works with any form of media.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Basic and fundamental "fair use"! April 25, 2015
This is a real bible for fair use right now in the USA. It is inescapable, unavoidable, indispensable. But at the same time it assumes we know our basics and I think it is necessary to start with a quotation they do not give, the section of the US Code that defines fair use (17 US Code Section 107)

"Notwithstanding the provisions of sections 106 and 106A, the fair use of a copyrighted work, including such use by reproduction in copies or phonorecords or by any other means specified by that section, for purposes such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching (including multiple copies for classroom use), scholarship, or research, is not an infringement of copyright. In determining whether the use made of a work in any particular case is a fair use the factors to be considered shall include--
(1) the purpose and character of the use, including whether such use is of a commercial nature or is for nonprofit educational purposes;
(2) the nature of the copyrighted work;
(3) the amount and substantiality of the portion used in relation to the copyrighted work as a whole; and
(4) the effect of the use upon the potential market for or value of the copyrighted work.
The fact that a work is unpublished shall not itself bar a finding of fair use if such finding is made upon consideration of all the above factors."

This is the official section of the US Code that states the four factors to which we are going to come back over and over again.

The second document they mention but do not quote is the famous and founding article by Pierre N. Leval, "Toward a Fair Use Standard" published in 1990 in the Harvard Law Review (Issue 103, pp. 1105-1136 plus 128 notes, some extensive). I will not quote it, but I would advise you to get to it.
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More About the Author

Center director Patricia Aufderheide is University Professor in the School of Communication at American University in Washington, D.C. She is the co-author with Peter Jaszi of Reclaiming Fair Use: How to Put Balance Back in Copyright (University of Chicago Press, July 2011), and author of, among others, Documentary: A Very Short Introduction (Oxford, 2007), The Daily Planet (University of Minnesota Press, 2000), and of Communications Policy in the Public Interest (Guilford Press, 1999). She heads the Fair Use and Free Speech research project at the Center, in conjunction with Prof. Peter Jaszi in American University's Washington College of Law. She has been a Fulbright and John Simon Guggenheim fellow and has served as a juror at the Sundance Film Festival among others. She has received numerous journalism and scholarly awards, including the Preservation and Scholarship award in 2006 from the International Documentary Association, a career achievement award in 2008 from the International Digital Media and Arts Association, and the Woman of Vision Award from Women in Film and Video (DC) in 2010. Aufderheide serves on the board of directors of Kartemquin Films, a leading independent social documentary production company, and and on the editorial boards of a variety of publications, including Communication Law and Policy and In These Times newspaper. She has served on the board of directors of the Independent Television Service, which produces innovative television programming for underserved audiences under the umbrella of the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, and on the film advisory board of the National Gallery of Art. She received her Ph.D. in history from the University of Minnesota.

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