The boundaries between copyright and fair use are not only vague, but frequently changing. The rapid introduction of digital based works has only exacerbated this ambiguity. As a result, many individuals end up censoring themselves because of this fear of the unknown. My presentation "Understanding Fair Use," at the HighEdWebDev Conference argued that there can be benefits to this ambiguity and provided tools to understand the fundamental principles behind the doctrine of fair use.
At its simplest, my presentation was based on two principles:
- Fair Use is your legal right!
- Fair Use is a philosophical idea, more than it is a literally stated definition.
Additionally, for those wanted to learn more about fair use in the digital age, I personally found the following two Berkman Center papers immensely helpful:
- "The Digital Learning Challenge: Obstacles to Educational Uses of Copyrighted Material in the Digital Age," William W. Fisher and William McGeveran, August 2006
- "Digital Rights Management and the Process of Fair Use," Timothy Armstrong. (forthcoming, Harv. J.L. & Tech., vol. 20, no. 1, fall 2006)
UPDATE: My presentation has been awarded best in track by the attendees at the 2006 HighEdWebDev Conference. Many thanks to those of you who voted for this presentation.