From Daniel Lee, Undergraduate Services Librarian at the University of Arizona (full text on American Library Association website here)
Section 107 of the Copyright Act of 1976 defines fair use. It is a vague definition, intentionally so, presenting broad principles with no reference to numerical limits on the portion of a work used, or the length of time a work can be used. This vagueness provides tremendous flexibility, but also leads to much uncertainty. Applying the statute to a particular proposed project can result in multiple, quite reasonable interpretations. In an effort to combat this uncertainty and make fair use more predictable, representatives of both copyright holders and consumers have often met to develop guidelines that provide the sort of specificity that many find desirable.
The most well known of these guidelines are the CONTU Guidelines on Photocopying Under Interlibrary Loan Arrangements, adopted in 1978, and the Agreement on Guidelines for Classroom Copying in Not-for-profit Educational Institutions with Respect to Books and Periodicals (often referred to as the "Classroom Guidelines"), adopted in 1976. More recently, attempts were made to reach similar agreements for educational multimedia, electronic reserve, and distance learning. For the most part, agreement could not be reached as copyright owners believed the proposed guidelines to be overly permissive, and library and educational representatives found the proposals to be too restrictive.
The failure of the recent negotiations and almost 25 years of experience with the earlier guidelines have led many to conclude that fair use guidelines, by their very nature, fail to capture the principles embodied in fair use and are of little practical help.
A Powerpoint on fair use for librarians here.
CONTU Guidelines here.
Purchase Copyright Litigation Handbook 2010 by Raymond J. Dowd from West here
Friday, August 19, 2011
Fair Use Fridays: ALA - Fair Use Guidelines "Of Little Practical Help"
Labels: american library association, copyright infringement, copyrights in classrooms, fair use doctrine, fair use guidelines, libraries, library copying CONTU Guidelines
Partner in Manhattan law firm Dunnington Bartholow & Miller LLP in New York City litigating in federal and state courts and arbitrations. Experienced trial and appellate practitioner. Author: Copyright Litigation Handbook (Thomson Reuters 2015-2016). The New York Law Journal called it "an indispensable guide". Serve on the Board of Directors of the Federal Bar Association, served as Chair of the Circuit Vice Presidents, Vice President for the Second Circuit and General Counsel. Member Board of Governors, National Arts Club. President, Network of Bar Leaders (2013-2014). Attorney advertising disclaimer - prior results do not guarantee success. The statements and opinions voiced here are my own and not of my law firm.