Tag: Fair use

Promoting Progress with Fair Use

Promoting Progress with Fair Use

Joshua N. Mitchell

Duke Law Journal, Volume 60, April 2011, Number 7


The Intellectual Property (IP) Clause [of the US Constitution provides that Congress has the power “to promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts by securing for limited Times to Authors and Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries.” In the realm of copyright, Congress and the courts have interpreted the clause as granting Congress a power not to promote progress but to establish limited IP monopolies. To return to an understanding of the IP power better grounded in the constitutional text, Congress and the courts
should ensure that any IP enactment “promote[s] . . . Progress” by considering whether it improves the quality or quantity of knowledge and aids the dissemination of knowledge, and whether it does so better than prior IP enactments. The courts can exercise the fair-use doctrine to aid in this re-constitutionalization of IP law by applying a fifth fair-use factor. This proposed fifth factor would balance the progress-promoting value of the alleged infringer’s use against the progress-promoting value of enforcing the copyright holder’s rights. Reviewing courts should presume that any alleged infringement is fair if it promotes progress better than the enforcement of the copyright.

Who Said France Does Not Have Fair Use? | SAIF v Google

An important decision of the Paris Court of Appeal was rendered yesterday in a litigation between Google and a French Collective Society for Visual Works (SAIF). The Collective Society claimed that Google was infringing on the copyright of its authors members by reproducing and displaying their works in the form of thumbnails on the pages of Google Image service and also by reproducing their works through Google caching system. Before the Court of First Instance, the Judge considered the applicable law to be the U.S. Copyright Act, and consequently, the court applied the fair use defense in line with the Arriba and Perfect 10 decisions.

The Court of Appeal disagreed and applied French law. Nevertheless, it too rejected plaintiff’s claim and decided that Google benefited from the “safe harbor” provisions of the Loi sur la Confiance dans l’Economie Numérique [the relevant French statute]. It considered Google as being a “neutral” actor and the reproduction of the photos necessary to provide the service. It also refused to consider a sort of contributory infringement liability when Google refers to works available on the Internet without the consent of the rights holder.

Law & Humanities Blog: Semiotics, Law, and Copyright

Semiotics, Law, and Copyright

H. Brian Holland, Texas Wesleyan School of Law, is publishing Social Semiotics in the Fair Use Analysis in a forthcoming issue of the Harvard Journal of Law and Technology. Here is the abstract.

This article presents an argument for an expansion of fair use, based not on theories of authorship or rights of autonomy but rather on a theory of the audience linked to social practice. The article asks, in essence, whether audiences determine the meaning, purpose, function, or social benefit of an allegedly infringing work, often regardless of what the work’s creator did or intended. If so, does this matter for the purpose of a fair use analysis based on a claim of transformativeness?