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.

Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1. icon
    Kevin H (profile), Feb 26th, 2013 @ 1:39pm

    I fear that while this is said to us upfront that there is some other deal being done behind the scenes that makes this all but pointless. I really have no faith in this administration when it comes to patent/copyright/technology legislation.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Feb 26th, 2013 @ 1:46pm

    is this really the case or are they going to carry on with what they were going to do, just do it underhandedly? that wouldn't surprise me. all it is gonna mean is we wont know what they are doing until after it's done!

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  3. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Feb 26th, 2013 @ 1:48pm


    Not trusting government is our patriotic duty. However I would point out the the Exec branch has entrenched elements and influences that go way beyond presidential terms. Its not just this administration, they're just the current tools for the same old beast.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  4. identicon
    Androgynous Cowherd, Feb 26th, 2013 @ 2:06pm


    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.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  5. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Feb 26th, 2013 @ 2:32pm

    Re: Swartz

    nor should they! arseholes!!

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  6. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Feb 26th, 2013 @ 3:01pm

    This is good, forcing them to do it under the table, just put it where it rightly belongs on the wrong side of the law.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  7. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Feb 26th, 2013 @ 3:09pm

    They could have filed for the good guys

    Hurray, they're neutral! It would have been better if they wrote an amicus in behalf of the universities. But I digress. Reality is what it is.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  8. icon
    special-interesting (profile), Feb 26th, 2013 @ 10:50pm

    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.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  9. icon
    Jesse (profile), Feb 27th, 2013 @ 2:18am

    Yay! The government has opted to do nothing instead of making things worse! "Win" for the people!

    What a sad state of affairs.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  10. icon
    Ninja (profile), Feb 27th, 2013 @ 2:42am


    That. I wonder if public outrage had anything to do with this decision?

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

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