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Copyright and Fair Use

Fair Use Frequently Asked Questions

Since the release of The Statement of Best Practices we have received many inquires about fair use. Here are some of our more commonly asked items.


Right wing politicians claim Fair Use in political campaigns

Right wing bloggers and MoveOn recently joined forces to protest Fox News Channel after the network sent cease and desist letters to Republican presidential candidate John McCain. These cease and desist letters came after Mr. McCain used footage from a Fox News clip in one of his campaign advertisements. The advertisement uses 19 seconds of a 90 minute debate. Mr. McCain’s lawyers claim he is within the rights of Fair Use.

Learn more about it here.

The Law of Fair Use and the Illusion of Fair-Use Guidelines

Several “official” and formal guidelines that attempt to define the scope of fair use for specific applications—notably for education, research, and library services—have emerged in the years since passage of the Copyright Act of 1976. Although some interested parties and some governmental agencies have welcomed these guidelines, none of them ever has had the force of law. This article analyzes the origins of guidelines, the various governmental documents and court rulings that reference the guidelines, and the substantive content of the guidelines themselves to demonstrate that in fact the guidelines bear little relationship, if any, to the law of fair use.



Fair Use and Best Practices: Surprising Success

Aufderheide and Jaszi discuss the successes of the Statement of Best Practices in an article published in Intellectual Property Today.


Fair Use Language for Course Syllabi

In your syllabus, you often have some information on copyright. Here is some language to include in that section, specifically on fair use. This language has been reviewed by lawyers, including law professor Peter Jaszi of American University’s Washington College of Law and Michael Donaldson of Donaldson and Hart law firm, and it has been approved by the University Film and Video Association for use by its members.