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Fair Use is described as copying of copyrighted material, but only for limited purpose and without any permission from the copyright owner. This promotes freedom of expression by permitting use of copyrighted material in certain circumstances. These certain circumstances are activities like criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching, scholarship, and research.

In my opinion, Fair Use of copyrighted material should be left as is, as it covers all the scenarios where in any material could be used for limited purposes and also, doesn’t exploit use of actual owner’s material. For instance, quoting an author’s material in a review is within Fair Use limits and totally understandable as it gives more context. ”A reviewer may fairly cite largely from the original work, if his design be to use the passages for the purposes of fair and reasonable criticism, if he cites the most important parts of the work, with a view, not to criticize, but to supersede the use of the original work, such a use will be deemed a piracy.” Justice Joseph Story of the United States Supreme Court wrote in that matter, Folsom v. Marsh, a Massachusetts case involving the papers of George Washington. (

In case of journalist’s they could quote a speech without the orator’s permission which gives them more credibility. In case of educational uses, teachers can photocopy portions of work, for classroom purposes which is totally acceptable. In the Educational Fair Use Guidelines, it is mentioned, “Since the current copyright law was adopted, various organizations and scholars have established guidelines for educational uses. These guidelines are not part of the Copyright Act and are summarized in Chapter 7, which deals with academic and educational permissions.” (

There are some considerations when Fair Use is in picture – The purpose for intended use, competition with the source, using the name of the author and giving him credits does not mean that any material or how much ever material can be used, the more material from the original you use means the less Fair Use that it will be, the quality is as important as quantity that is used.

By including a copyright notice, the author can make it simpler for anyone who desires to use the material for any purpose. Author can do this by giving a copyright notice which says, the word “copyright”, c in a circle, date of publication, name of either the author or the owner of all the copyright rights, this would help anyone to track the author to use any of his / her work. According to International Copyright Protection, “Copyright protection rules are fairly similar worldwide, due to several international copyright treaties, the most important of which is the Berne Convention. Under this treaty, all member countries — and there are more than 100, including virtually all industrialized nations — must afford copyright protection to authors who are nationals of any member country. This protection must last for at least the life of the author plus 50 years and must be automatic without the need for the author to take any legal steps to preserve the copyright.” (



In its most general sense, fair use is any copying of copyrighted material done for a limited and “transformative” purpose, such as to comment upon, criticize, or parody a copyrighted work. Such uses can be done without permission from the copyright owner. In other words, fair use is a defense against a claim of copyright infringement. If your use qualifies as fair use, then it would not be considered an infringement. Unlike other forms of fair use, fairly extensive use of the original work is permitted in a parody in order to “conjure up” the original [1].

There are several factors that a court will consider when determining whether an instance of infringement qualifies as fair use. Non-commercial use weighs heavily in favor of finding that the infringement is fair use. Violations often occur when the use is motivated primarily by a desire for commercial gain. The fact that a work is published primarily for private commercial gain weighs against a finding of fair use. When it comes to fair use, unpublished works are inherently different from published works. Publishing an author’s unpublished work before he or she has authorized it infringes upon the author’s right to decide when and whether the work will be made public [2].

Although some of the criticism is directed at courts’ alleged misapplication of the governing legal rules and standards, much of it has begun to focus on structural features that sometimes compel would-be users to give in to copyright owners’ expansive interpretations of the scope of the owners’ rights. Among these features are the potentially high costs of fending off even weak copyright infringement suits; endemic risk aversion on the part of all parties involved, including the providers of errors and omissions (“E&O”) insurance; and, relatedly, the often complex, fact-specific, and hence relatively unpredictable nature of the governing standards themselves [3].

Fair use is controversial in that it is a contradiction of the basic concept of copyright’s five rights. Fair use provides the privilege of using an author’s work without permission or payment. In 1978, the new copyright act spelled out fair use but only after resistance. The copyright committee working on the new law felt that trying to nail down specific guidelines for fair use in an era of technological change was futile. The codification of fair use is short and seemingly straightforward in the text of the law, but this still does not make its application any clearer than in the past [4].