Exploring Fair Use And Fair Dealing Around The Globe

from the it's-there dept

We’ve seen some pushback against fair use/fair dealing over the years — especially by copyright maximalists who like to pretend that such public rights as codified as fair use and fair dealing somehow violate international treaties. That’s ridiculous. Jonathan Band and Jonathan Gerafi have put together a fantastic handbook detailing every fair use and fair dealing law they could find around the globe. The end result? Over 40 countries, covering more than one-third of the world’s population, have these laws as a part of their copyright laws. That doesn’t mean that all of them are well written or as strong and protective of the rights of the public as they could be. However, as Band notes, this suggests that “there is no basis for preventing the more widespread adoption of these doctrines, with the benefits their flexibility brings to authors, publishers, consumers, technology companies, libraries, museums, educational institutions, and governments.”

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Comments on “Exploring Fair Use And Fair Dealing Around The Globe”

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special-interesting (profile) says:

Fair use is a great idea but its implementation in the US is kind of weak. This with the combination of recent criminalization of (what used to be civil) copyright laws one can be ’rounded up’ just for trying to write and grade school essay with quotes about some new and, in the writers opinion, important concept.

All arguments that attempt to degrade the concept of Fair Use are just wrong. Its probably best to start using the phrase ?Fair Use Rights? as its that important. (take that you doublespeak morons!)

Excuse me someone actually commented on one of my comments and must respond. Is a good one so please read. (shameless self plug but is one of my cooler moments)


What is Fair Use anyway? What is Culture anyway? Where/why does an advanced society revolve around such transfer of knowledge anyway? How do we grow as a society as a whole? How do we discuss important issues of the day?

Fair Use Rights! It’s a rally point. Do we define our culture as a multi point continually changing reference (as chosen good reference points change over time/perspective) or a top down hierarchy based on anthill theory?

Cultural awareness. A goal. A greatness. Something greater than itself.

Anonymous Coward says:

Fair use in the internet is a question of international law. On copyright, there is a codified minimum protection, meaning that the companies living off of it has something to hold on to.

On the other hand fair use is very different.

The WIPO limitation is comedic:
“(1) Contracting Parties may, in their national legislation, provide for limitations of or exceptions to the rights granted to authors of literary and artistic works under this Treaty in certain special cases that do not conflict with a normal exploitation of the work and do not unreasonably prejudice the legitimate interests of the author.

(2) Contracting Parties shall, when applying the Berne Convention, confine any limitations of or exceptions to rights provided for therein to certain special cases that do not conflict with a normal exploitation of the work and do not unreasonably prejudice the legitimate interests of the author.10″

Absolutely useless for any agreement on what it means. If anything it says “do as narrow a fair use as possible”. It is a parody of itself and a disgrace to the industry!

The Berne convention is a lot better. It makes it possible to avoid:
– protection of political speech and legal procedings
– protection of public lectures or speeches
(Article 2bis)
To provide exceptions for:
– protection of properly sourced limited quotations
– weak formulation of an exemption for properly sourced “illustration”
– weak formulation of exemption from broadcasts on certain topics
– protection for reporting “current events”
(Article 10 and 10bis)
– Some vague formulations sbout things covered by earlier agreements

Since the protections in both WIPO and berne convention are minimum standards, there will always be more protection.
On the other hand, exemptions are literally described as some sort of pest in WIPO and the Berne convention is far too vague to guarantee much protection.

That is the main problem with copyright. The copyright protections has a very strong charter internationally in WIPO, while fair uses has a very weak protection granted in a treaty promoting copyright standards internationally! We lack a stronger international standard for fair use.

jameshogg says:

I would like to know how anybody can possibly be in a position to know where the boundaries of Fair Use lie.

We seem to have no problem with saying that nobody can possibly be good enough to police free expression without falling into corruption. But yet, we ARE good enough to know when it is fair to use and expand on subjective artistic works? Somehow when it comes to copyright, the slippery slope of corruption doesn’t apply?

And of course, you see many copyright maximalists agreeing with this point, but then turn around and say that there should therefore be NO Fair Use whatsoever. And why shouldn’t they? Either intellectual property is up for infringement or it isn’t. Fair Use to them is the equivalent of breaking into a bank safe and only stealing a penny at most – which is still, at the end of the day, a form of theft. Well, at least the maximalists are being consistent.

ByteMaster (profile) says:

It’s all relative; you can even argue that p2p-filesharing could be legal under the above-quoted rules;

the “normal exploitation” of a work would be offering it for sale in a store, having it play in a movie theatre, etc. etc. – the private sharing between individuals without any kind of compensation for the sharing is certainly not “normal exploitation” and does not interfere with it, nothing is stopping the rightsholder from doing so.

For the second part we need to define “unreasonably” – currently it is made to be “whatever might possibly, however far-fetched it seems to be, give off the scent of a potentially lost sale now or at some point in the (far) future”. If you want to give your citizens freedoms, then you can narrow that “unreasonably” considerably.

With the Internet, the cloud, mass storage, and all kinds of connected devices the circumstances changed to re-interpret what is reasonable. You should not force the circumstances to comply with outdated rules.

Think Galileo and the invention of the telescope. You cannot simply hold on to the “rule” that the Earth is the center and the Sun revolves around it anymore.

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