Fair Use In Copyright Rights
As part of intellectual property (IP) law, and used in entertainment law, fair use refers to certain limitations that have been placed on those who hold copyright rights. Being one of the many tools in IP law, copyright is to provide exclusive rights to a creator. However, as will be evident with this article, there are some exceptions to these rights. The notable exception is the Fair Use Doctrine.
Within the federal legislation on copyright, the fair use of work (that has a copyright holder) came about from 17 US Code Section 107. This code clarifies that there are situations in which someone who is not the copyright holder could use the work without permission, and not face an infringement case. Such instances are for teaching, news reporting, research, criticism, comment, or scholarship. There are several factors that determine whether something does constitute fair use of a work, and these include purpose and character of use, the nature of the work, amount of work, and any effects on potential markets.
When examining the purpose of use, the court will determine whether the work is now being used for commercial or non-commercial purposes. Furthermore, if the new use is like the initial use of the work, then that does not constitute fair use. With regards to the nature of the work, there will be an analysis of the work’s creative or informational use. The more informational it is, the higher the chance that it will be considered fair use, and not subject to copyright violation. For the third factor of the amount used, this analysis will take a look at how much of the original work is being used in the new one. If the new use is just a complete regurgitation of the original, chances are that won’t be considered fair use. This essentially comes down to assessing the “heart” of a work. Finally, the fourth factor is market effects. If the new use of the work has any negative effects for the original work’s market performance, courts will be less keen on granting fair use status.