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Fair Use/Fair Dealing Week 2020 Highlights Equitable Access, Decentralized Creativity

Sounds Fair to Me Copyright Game Show logo
image CC-BY 4.0 UC Regents

The seventh annual Fair Use/Fair Dealing Week was celebrated February 24–28, 2020, by 78 participating organizations as well as numerous individuals worldwide. The Association of Research Libraries (ARL) organized the event and participants included universities, libraries, library associations, and many other organizations, such as Authors Alliance, Canadian Association of University Teachers, Disruptive Competition Project (DisCo), Public Knowledge Project, Re:Create, UK Copyright Literacy, and Universities Canada. Thirty-three ARL member institutions contributed a range of resources this year.

Throughout the week, participants celebrated the essential limitations and exceptions to copyright that fair use and fair dealing provide, allowing the use of copyrighted materials without permission from the rights holder under certain circumstances. More than ever, today’s most groundbreaking creativity, scholarship, and online expression rely on fair use. Without fair use, it would be impossible for copyright to fulfill its constitutional purpose of promoting the progress of science and the arts.

Each day, new blog posts and other resources were produced and shared and institutions hosted a variety of live events, such as panel discussions and film screenings. Daily roundups and additional resources are available on the Fair Use/Fair Dealing Week website. There were 28 news and blog posts, 2 videos, 1 podcast, 1 digital exhibit, 1 art workshop, 1 game show, and more shared over the course of the week. Below are some highlights.

Fair Use/Fair Dealing Week 2021 will take place February 22–26. Plan to participate!

Blog/News Posts

Fair use and sampling in hip hop: Alvin Benjamin Carter III on the Fair Use Week 2020 Tumblr, “Sampling in Cultural Context…in Court: ‘You Never Thought That Hip-Hop Would Take It This Far’,” and Brandon Butler on The Taper, “Is Sampling Finally Being Recognized as Fair Use? Kinda.

Two posts about the South African Copyright Amendment Bill: Denise Nicholson on the IFLA Library Policy and Advocacy Blog, “Report on Status of Copyright Amendment Bill,” and Jonathan Band on ARL Policy Notes, “Fair Use in South Africa.”

The Copyright at Harvard Library blog published a new post each day:


Association of College and Research Libraries, “ACRL Presents: Understanding Fair Use through Case Law

Kyle K. Courtney, “Fair Use Fights Fascism: Some Fair Use Week Thoughts on the 1st Amendment & Fair Use


University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Library Copyright Chat, “Melissa Ocepek’s Insights into Copyright Instruction

Digital Exhibit

Carnegie Mellon University Libraries, “Pertains to Me: I Heard the Mother of All Not Dead Youth, a Mountain Pensive, on Her Side, Gazing

Art Workshop

MIT Libraries, “Fun and Legal: Making Art through Fair Use

Game Show

UCLA Library, “Sounds Fair to Me! The Copyright Game Show


About the Association of Research Libraries

The Association of Research Libraries (ARL) is a nonprofit organization of 124 research libraries in Canada and the US whose mission is to advance research, learning, and scholarly communication. The Association fosters the open exchange of ideas and expertise, promotes equity and diversity, and pursues advocacy and public policy efforts that reflect the values of the library, scholarly, and higher education communities. ARL forges partnerships and catalyzes the collective efforts of research libraries to enable knowledge creation and to achieve enduring and barrier-free access to information. ARL is on the web at ARL.org.