Obama Administration Decides Not To Fight Against Fair Use For Public Universities

from the good-news dept

A couple weeks ago, we wrote about some growing concern that, due to the US Copyright Office’s pressure, the Justice Department was seriously considering filing a brief in an important case about fair use. The fear was that the Copyright Office’s simplistic argument would carry over to the DOJ, and that could have a massive negative impact on the basic concept of fair use.

Thankfully, the story got a fair bit of attention, and we heard that a lot of people spoke out and more feedback than expected showed up on the DOJ’s doorstep, including from some folks in Congress, who were concerned about the possibility of hurting fair use in the educational setting. The end result? The DOJ has chosen not to weigh in after all. While it may seem like not such a big deal to get a government agency to not do something, from a variety of sources, it appears that the Copyright Office and the DOJ were very, very serious about filing something. It’s not yet clear if the public speaking out led to the change of heart, but either way, it’s good to see the administration back down. Having the federal government argue against fair use and in favor of (mostly foreign) big publishers was just never a good idea, and thankfully they realized that in time.

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Comments on “Obama Administration Decides Not To Fight Against Fair Use For Public Universities”

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Androgynous Cowherd says:


Most likely, they decided to keep their heads down because of the amount of flak they’re taking over the Swartz affair. For them to openly attack affordable access to educational and research materials at universities right now would have been like pissing on Swartz’s grave right in front of the cameras. They’d never have heard the end of it.

special-interesting (profile) says:

Comment #7 (thanks for the observation) fulfills my sarcastic side because neutral is only assumption of good. But aside from that… kudos for whatever reason.

In trying to encourage this decision of neutrality, in favor of fair use, I will advance that this is the second in rapid procession of good edicts emanating from the WH. (The first was the Executive Order for publicly funded research to enter public domain.)

Furthermore it is the second time I have recognized some sort of free will in the present administration.. (not a compliment but its a good thing when in the right direction) Points given for not toeing the corporate line and not rubber stamping bureaucracy.

Cautious Kudos for Obama.

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