Unfair use? — A short piece we all should read

Unfair use? : CJR.

by Steven Rosenbaum in the Columbia Journalism Review.

This is a terrific piece about what happens when “fair use” buts up against robots designed to keep tabs on copyright on the web. It’s also the platform, I believe, on which to build arguments for a new generation of copyright management.

Here’s a snippet — but be sure to read the whole thing.

Unspoken, but hanging in the air, was the concern that I had somehow presented something that I didn’t have the rights to. Somehow, I must have broken a copyright law. The takedown notice was there in black-and-white. And others had linked to that video, including WNET’s MetroFocus blog. There, too, the video left an ugly hole. I was labeled a copyright crook.

I racked my brain. What could I have included in my talk? A photograph? I’d been very careful only to use Creative Commons images. Music? There was none. Then I remembered that I’d used a clip from a film. Just 30 seconds, and certainly within an editorial context. It should have been fair use. And, as the anger began to rise inside me, more seriously—it was my film.

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