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Copyright and Fair Use

Fair Use Question of the Month: Crowdsourcing Journalism

Dear CMSI,

fine print

I’m doing a story on the use of highly technical language in Terms and Conditions clauses, and yesterday I found a really brilliant example on an application form I had to fill out. I’d like to post the relevant page online alongside the article when I’m finished and ask readers to weigh in on how to make the writing clearer, but I assume the text is copyrighted. Do I need the company’s permission before I can post it or is this a fair use?Read more...

Why Fair Use Is More Dependable Than You Think

Peter JasziLast week, Peter Jaszi--the nation's leading expert on the copyright doctrine of fair use--was asked to testify before Congress on fair use and whether it needed reform. His short explanation, reproduced here for everyone who didn't make it to the hearing room, shows why fair use is both flexible and reliable, given the last two decades of court decisions: Read more...

Fair Use Question of the Month: Hip Hop Tribute

Image by garryknight/FlickrDear CMSI,

Can you settle an argument? I work at a local blogging site, and a local hip hop artist just died. We covered the story using a short clips (less than 30 seconds!) of his best-known song, and we wanted also to use a clip from national network news from when he had a fight with another hip hop artist. Read more...

Create for Pivot with Fair Use

I RECWhen Participant Productions launched Pivot (http://www.pivot.tv/), its partly-crowdsourced TV channel, it turned to the Center for Media and Social Impact to create its guide to good copyright behavior. CMSi, with the help of the Washington College of Law's Prof. Peter Jaszi, developed a pledge--which anyone can take (and share with students, friends and family, hint hint). Read more...

Fair Use Question of the Month: Background Music

Image by get directly down/FlickrDear CMSI, I work for a nonprofit organization that fights racial inequality in public education. I am creating a video about the organization to go in the "About" section on our website, and I want to use a popular song in the background. Would my video qualify as fair use? Read more...