Just Because Something Is Used For Profit, It Can Still Be Fair Use

from the so-the-court-says dept

When it comes to copyright, content owners all too often believe it gives them a lot more control than it really does. For example, there's a belief that no one can ever use the content under "fair use" rules if it's for a commercial for-profit venture. One of the issues with fair use (which some in the entertainment industry continue to pretend doesn't exist) is that people often misread the four tests of fair use to believe that any commercial usage is not covered by fair use. Larry Lessig is pointing to an Appeals Court ruling highlighting why this isn't always the case. In the specific case, the Bill Graham Archives sued a book publisher for publishing a book about the Grateful Dead, using images of concert posters that were owned by the Archives. While the pictures are clearly being used for a commercial work, the court found that it was fair use. Specifically, they note that since the images are small and used within the context of descriptions about the history of the band, it's fine for fair use. It seems like a reasonable decision -- but could worry some copyright holders who freak out any time anyone uses their works in any way.

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  1. identicon
    Tyshaun, 19 May 2006 @ 10:36am

    Re: You're a moron

    1st off your only afforded the 'ownership rights' that the law provides you. The law provides for the publics 'fair use' and that is where the beginning of a content owners rights end. Michael may buy the rights to the Beatles music to make money, but he doesn't get a penny when I hum it on my way to work or better, I create a parody of it, or lend my sister my CD of it.
    Clearly you are part of the problem spouting out opinions without knowing the full issue at hand.

    First of all John, resorting to calling people names, for instance Moron, is usually the sign of a fairly simplistic and 'moronic' thought process.

    As per your point, of course I understand the idea of fair use when it comes to personal copies of media and such things, but I believe the point that was addressed in Mikes editorial was of the use of a picture in a publshed book. On that point, I'm sorry, I don't see why that's still considered fair use in the classic sense (I buy product X and have the right to reproduce product X for my own use). In this case, the author of the book was clearly using the image for more than just personal use as it was a puiblished piece.

    So yes, I do understand and agree with the concept of fair use I just don't understand how a court can decide that it's fair use to place copyrighted images in a book without the permission of the person holding the copyright. Seems to me that defeats the point of copy-right?

    Also, to the persno who said I am an RIAA troll, not so, in fact I said nothing about recorded media at all. I would suggest you stop spewing out "hate the man" dogma and actually think first about what was said.

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