This Wednesday the Authors Alliance published an extremely useful new document about fair use that I think will be helpful for virtually everyone at UVA who is creating original works of scholarship, research, and criticism: —The Authors Alliance Guide to Fair Use for Nonfiction Authors. The guide follows in the footsteps of a long and distinguished series of fair use best practices’ documents and identifies three core scenarios where fair use will apply to non-fiction writing that uses third-party copyrighted material.

The context where I think this will do the most good is when faculty are negotiating with publishers about permissions for quotations, excerpts, images, and the like in their journal articles, book chapters, and books. It is still a shockingly widespread practice among academic publishers to require permissions for any non-trivial use of third-party material, a practice that can be debilitating for conscientious scholars, and can even change their scholarship.

Now all academic authors can follow in the footsteps of documentary filmmakers and, more recently, visual arts scholars in invoking an authoritative document to persuade these gatekeepers to respect their rights. If anyone at UVA has questions about how to use this resource, or particular publisher negotiations they’re stuck in right now, feel free to reach out to me.