Every year around this time, libraries, archives, and allied institutions and groups celebrate Fair Use Week, a time to recognize the power and importance of the fair use doctrine in our daily lives. Fair use is the First Amendment safety valve in copyright law, allowing use of in-copyright works without payment or permission when the use serves copyright’s purpose without intruding unfairly on the copyright holder’s commercial prerogatives. Fair use is crucial for research, teaching, criticism, commentary, and news reporting (purposes that are mentioned explicitly in the statute). This week, you can celebrate and learn more about fair use by checking out some of the virtual events, writings, and other special programming offered by libraries and library groups around the country. From Dungeons and Dragons to chatGPT, you can learn more about how fair use touches almost everything around you.
Here at the Taper, we’ll be posting some locally-sourced fair use content, including a new essay by your humble narrator (to be cross-posted by our Library News blog and by the Harvard Fair Use Week team) as well as some thoughts from UVA faculty members about how fair use has impacted their teaching and research. I’ll also be participating in an event this Thursday at Noon sponsored by Library Futures later this week, featuring several library copyright folks (some of my very favorite people) talking about fair use in libraries circa 2023—register here!
Today I thought I’d kick things off with a little bit of a note from left field: my guest appearance on a quilting podcast! But it’s not just any quilting podcast; it’s “Just Wanna Quilt,” the podcast hosted by Elizabeth Thownsend Gard, a quilter who also happens to be a phenomenal copyright scholar. Gard brings her passions together on her podcast, featuring copyright scholars and practitioners as frequent guests alongside more quilting-centric folks, and copyright turns out to be a frequent topic of discussion in the quilting universe. I was recently a guest on the show and our conversation was focused on fair use, including some of the work I do as a fair use consultant to help documentary filmmakers use fair use to tell their stories. Check out my conversation with Elizabeth here.