Fair Use and Copyright

Today, Public Knowledge held an event focused around the idea of fair use, declaring today to be “World Fair Use Day”. Unfortunately, I was not able to attend the event, but did manage to listen to several of the panels that were streamed online.

I’m not here to declare my opposition to fair use. I find it to be a useful tool that, from late night talk shows to political advocacy organizations, is utilized everyday to bring information and entertainment to consumers.

However, there are many who use fair use as a defense for outright infringement and would like nothing more than to continue to erode creators’ rights with the expansion of fair use because of new digital technologies. They argue their hands are tied moving culture forward because of copyright “monopolies.” In fact, fair use exists because copyright law has allowed artists and innovators the potential to create original works with the opportunity to be granted a return on their investment. Without this guarantee, there wouldn’t be the original cultural work to expand on.

So, in short, here’s to World Fair Use Day and the copyright laws that have incentivized new innovations and creative works.