Fair Use Response

Before I get into the details, I want to make my overall statement first; while copyright law can be annoying and seem just like a nuisance at times, I believe that it is necessary given today’s culture and society.

Aoki, Boyle, and Jenkins lay out copyright law as protecting the intellectual works of others from unmandated use. In other words, whoever creates or owns a piece of literature, a musical and dramatic work, a film, a sound recording, etc. is the person who can control how and where it is used. I believe this is important so that the individuals get their rightful retribution by whatever means they choose this to be. However, as Lawrence Lessig suggests, this is becoming more and more an issue of having control over the work. This then brings in the issue of what is Fair Use and how exactly we can use it. While Aoki, Boyle, and Jenkins use several examples to describe Fair Use, it can be boiled down to the ultimate grey area of when we can or cannot use copyrighted material. While I know that I can talk about what Aoki, Boyle, Jenkins, and Lessig’s works in this post because it is for academic purposes (which is the sure fire way of knowing you have fair use), I would say unless you are blatantly misusing a copyright (for example claiming a work as your own or making a profit on someone else’s work without permission) it really comes down to judgment.

Where it becomes important to discuss Copyright law and Fair Use is in terms of how we are limiting our culture. Lessig discusses Walt Disney and how many of his films were based off of the Brothers Grimm. Disney was able to use this as Fair Use because the story had become a cultural norm and were not copyrighted to begin with. Without this, we would not have what many refer to as classic films. With all works today being copyrighted, are we preventing our cultural from growing and from introducing new cultural norms though??


Personally, when it comes to my own blog, I do not care if people use it or not, assuming they gave me attribution. If I made a more complex work, such as a novel or a film, I would probably want to place more restrictions on how the work could be used. Though if someone simply quoted the piece in a piece of their own, I would not have an issue with that use. I guess even for myself, there are many grey areas in how to use Copyright and how to define Fair Use.


One thought on “Fair Use Response

  1. Great response. Do you think we are limiting free culture by the way copyright is enforced now? Would you take a more liberal approach to use of your work than Disney does, even if it was a more complex work? What creative commons license would you want associated with your blog?


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