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Fair Use in Digital Environments: The Work of the Conference on Fair Use (CONFU)

Paper disucssing fair use in digital environments, and particularly about the work of the Conference on Fair Use (or CONFU) to work out guidelines for "fair use" in educational and library settings now that digital, networked communication and publishing is becoming common. Presented at The National Federation of Abstracting and Information Services in Philadelphia, PA on February 27, 1996.

pdf fairuse-confu-27feb96.pdf

 
 

Fair Use in the Electronic Age: Serving the Public Interest

This statement, released on January 18, 1995, outlines the lawful uses of copyrighted works by individuals, libraries, and educational institutions in the electronic environment. The statement was developed by representatives of the following associations: American Association of Law Libraries, American Library Association, Association of Academic Health Sciences Library Directors, Association of Research Libraries, Medical Library Association, and Special Libraries Association.

pdf fair-use-in-the-electronic-age-serving-the-public-interest-1995.pdf

 
 

Intellectual Property: An ARL Statement of Principles

This statement of seven principles adopted by the ARL Membership in May 1994 affirms the rights and responsibilities of the research library community in the area of copyright.

pdf intellectual-property-an-arl-statement-of-principles-1994.pdf

 
 

Georgia State University E-Reserves Case: Eleventh Circuit Endorses Flexible Approach to Fair Use

Georgia State University LibraryGSU Library
image © Jason Puckett
On Friday, October 17, 2014, the US Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit issued its ruling in the Georgia State University (GSU) case concerning the use of excerpts of academic books for electronic course reserves. The Eleventh Circuit reversed and remanded the decision to the district court. In doing so, the court upheld the importance of the flexible application of fair use. Importantly, the Eleventh Circuit did not rule on whether each of the uses by GSU were fair uses or not, but instead found fault with the district court’s methodology, which used bright-line rules and an arithmetic approach (i.e., if three of the four factors favor fair use, then the use is fair). Assuming that litigation goes forward rather than the case being settled, the district court will need to revisit its fair use analysis, but could potentially again find that GSU’s uses were fair use for most of the works at issue.

For a more detailed analysis of the October 17 ruling, see “In Georgia State University E-Reserves Case, Eleventh Circuit Endorses Flexible Approach to Fair Use,” on the ARL Policy Notes blog.

 
 

Strong Fair Use Decision Issued in Bouchat v. Ravens

baltimore-ravens-playing buffalo-billsimage © Lauren SwiecickiIn a long-running legal dispute between Frederick E. Bouchat and the Baltimore Ravens along with the National Football League (NFL), a federal appeals court has ruled that the use of the former Ravens logo by the Ravens and the NFL was fair use. The case involved the incidental use of copyrighted logos in films about historical events—football games, in this instance.

 
 

GSU Copyright Case: Post-Argument Panel to Be Held, Webcast Nov. 19

Georgia State University LibraryGSU Library
image © Jason Puckett
In 2012, the North Georgia District Court ruled largely in favor of Georgia State University (GSU) in the ongoing copyright lawsuit initiated by Cambridge University Press, Oxford University Press, and SAGE Publishers. The decision was the first US federal court decision specifically addressing fair use and electronic reserves. Plaintiff publishers appealed on many points of the ruling.

 
 

Briefing: Success of Fair Use Codes of Best Practices

Does the approach of creating a code of best practices, anchored in professional practice, actually work to expand the utility of fair use? What has happened to others who used codes of best practices to gain access to their rights?

This topic is discussed at length in Aufderheide and Jaszi, Reclaiming Fair Use (University of Chicago Press, 2011), but some specific examples include:

 
 

Briefing: Copyright Education, Academic Integrity Codes, and Fair Use

Does your university offer intellectual property education to incoming students, or have an academic integrity policy that addresses copyright issues? These are important areas where librarians can be of service in offering balanced information about copyright and fair use.

 
 

Briefing: Demystifying Technical Protection Measures (TPMs) in the Library

The Code of Best Practices in Fair Use for Academic and Research Libraries suggests at various points that librarians consider the use of appropriate “technical protection measures” when making digitized materials available on-line, as a way of bolstering their fair use claims. Many libraries already employ such measures as a risk-management strategy.

 
 

Briefing: The Cost of Conservatism to Academic and Research Librarians’ Mission

When teachers bring Stacey, a librarian at a Midwestern private university, their course materials to upload on the university’s e-reserves system, she always checks to make sure that the course material has not been uploaded before—or at least, not in the last three years. If it’s fresh material, and it’s only a small fraction of the original work, she’s pretty sure that uploading it for the students to study could be considered a “fair use.” If it has been uploaded before, she tries to license the material, or have the professor find a substitute that the professor hasn’t used before. She knows that at some universities, e-reserves policies are more liberal, but her institution can’t afford a legal challenge, so she likes to err on the conservative side. After all, you can’t be too careful.

 
 

Briefing: Accessibility, the Chafee Amendment, and Fair Use

The Fifth Principle in the Code of Best Practices in Fair Use for Academic and Research Libraries is entitled "Reproducing material for use by disabled students, faculty, staff, and other appropriate users." It describes in some detail the circumstances in which making and providing copies of collection materials in formats that are accessible to persons with disabilities constitutes fair use, as well as certain limitations to which that general principle is subject.

 
 
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