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Copyright and Fair Use

Fair Use Question of the Month: Exhibiting Activist Letters

Image by Jim Yardly, Civil Rights, Demonstrations, "March to Freedom," Detroit, 1963Dear CMSI,

I work at a community library and we are planning an exhibit on civil rights demonstrations in the area during the 60s. I found some letters from an activist during that time stashed away in our archives. I think the letters would really add to the exhibit, but I’m worried about copyright and the only information I have about the writer is his first name. Is it okay to put the letters on display? Read more...

Fair Use in the Visual Arts Goes to Detroit

Cranbrook Art MuseumThe visual arts community is already putting the Code of Best Practices in the Visual Arts to work in Detroit. At a late-April meeting at the Cranbrook Art Museum, speakers showed fair use can enable work in five areas.

After a presentation on the Code by Janet Landay of the College Art Association and Patricia Aufderheide, a panel of experts explained why fair use matters to them: Read more...

Fair Use in the Visual Arts: The News Spreads

Code of Best Practices in Fair Use for the Visual ArtsSince the Code of Best Practices in Fair Use for the Visual Arts launched in February, it has begun conversations in libraries, archives, editorial offices, and classrooms. (Need a refresher on that code? Check out this video!) Now, it's picking up fans.

The Society of Architectural Historians has just endorsed the Code and other organizations have also expressed their enthusiasm. Read more...

Yes, You Can Riff on Popular Culture—with Fair Use

Everett CollectionThe judge’s decision in the “Three’s Company” fair use case makes inspirational reading. For copyright geeks, it’s practically poetry. And for anyone else, it’s good news that the judge so eloquently defends the right to reuse copyrighted material when creating new culture. That’s a defense against the self-censorship that happens when speech is chilled for fear of copyright infringement. Read more...

Journalists Get Fair Use Spectacularly Wrong

Set of Principles in Fair Use for JournalismYou’d think they’d never created a Set of Principles in Fair Use for Journalism, the way some journalists have fumbled the chance to clarify their fair use rights.

It all began with a belated licensing demand to journalism outlets by the guy who shot the video of a South Carolina cop murdering Walter Scott.  His Australia-based publicist could be forgiven—barely—on grounds of ignorance for making up a fanciful interpretation of fair use, which is U.S. law. Read more...