When Does Fair Use Go Too Far?

January 18, 2011 -

When does fair use go too far? That's a hypothetical question ask by a columnist over at the New York Times, who, after snapping photos from several home decor magazines and books at Barnes & Noble for a home design project (using their iPhone), wondered if he might be breaking the law.

So he turned to several experts on the subject including Julie A. Ahrens, associate director of the Fair Use Project at the Stanford Law School; Stan Liebowitz, a professor of economics at the University of Texas at Dallas and the director of its Center for the Analysis of Property Rights and Innovation; and Charles Nesson, the Weld professor of law at Harvard Law School and founder of the Berkman Center for Internet and Society. Their answers varied.

"The core issue here is that you are creating a copy of something rather than buying it," said Ahrens. "Is it morally incorrect? Maybe. But it entirely depends how much of the book you copy, and what you do with that copy, that would determine if it was illegal."

Stan Liebowitz, who spent years "investigating the economic impact of the Xerox machine on the publishing industry," said that copying books was more akin to music piracy: "When you’re talking about people making copies of things with their cellphones, it’s much closer to people making MP3s than people using Xerox copies of books. In the 1970s, everyone didn’t have a photocopier sitting in their home. Now everyone has a cellphone in their pocket that can easily copy anything."

Of course, no one ever copies a sample of an MP3, a movie, or a game.

Charles Nesson agreed that "documenting a book" bears similarities to pirating music: If people are taking a picture of a picture to take with them, then is it is exactly like the MP3 issue," he said. He adds that, for now, the question is unanswerable for now because the publishing industry doesn't go after individuals like the music industry has.

"I think the law and the draconian action of copyright holders will stay the way it is for a long time," said Nesson. "There’s change in the air, but it’s not a change that’s going to come very quickly."

Source: NYT


 
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Andrew EisenAlways came off as a dream to me.06/30/2015 - 3:40pm
Andrew EisenThat scene really reads to you like Stantz was being raped?06/30/2015 - 3:39pm
Andrew EisenAlso a pic of Wiig wearing the pack in street clothes!06/30/2015 - 3:37pm
Goth_SkunkBecause at the end of the day, after you dig through all the comedic undertones, it's rape. And that tends to send feminists into a tizzy.06/30/2015 - 3:37pm
Andrew EisenMcCarthy in costume! Yay! https://celebrity.yahoo.com/news/melissa-mccarthy-rocks-iconic-ghostbusters-172200157.html06/30/2015 - 3:37pm
Andrew EisenIn my head I'm swapping out Aykroyd with McCarthy and I'm not feeling outraged at all.06/30/2015 - 3:34pm
Andrew EisenOkay. Why?06/30/2015 - 3:30pm
Goth_SkunkI predict there would be outrage from feminists.06/30/2015 - 3:29pm
Andrew EisenThen I imagine the reaction would be what I imagined it would be a few minutes ago.06/30/2015 - 3:28pm
Goth_SkunkFor the sake of argument, assume the tone, context, and content mirror the same scene from the 1984 film, just with a gender role reversal. For context, here's the scene: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=43wE6j_0Bc806/30/2015 - 3:26pm
Andrew EisenOf course, it all depends on the scene itself, the preceding scenes and the subsequent scenes.06/30/2015 - 3:23pm
Andrew EisenI imagine the reaction ("well, that's an odd scene that maybe feels a bit out of place") would be the same along with a heavier helping of "Oh, come on! Do we REALLY need to repeat scenes from the original film? Do something new!"06/30/2015 - 3:23pm
Goth_SkunkI propose: If, out of respect to the original film, something similar happens in the all-female version (male ghost), would the reaction be the same as it was in 1984?06/30/2015 - 3:19pm
Goth_SkunkI just had a thought: Fans of the original Ghostbusters film should recall a short scene in the film where it is heavily implied that Ray Stantz has sexual intercourse with a female ghost during a montage. In fact, it's technically rape.06/30/2015 - 3:18pm
Andrew EisenYou're assumption would be correct. The costumes are indeed for the film in production and not the one that the Sony emails showed was being considered and we have since heard nothing about.06/30/2015 - 3:16pm
Goth_SkunkOn the basis on chronology, I assume the aforementioned costumes and prop designs are for the female-led team.06/30/2015 - 3:14pm
Goth_SkunkJust asking out of curiosity, because while the all-female ghostbusters film will be out within a year, there is actually a male one being considered, too: http://ow.ly/P0AR706/30/2015 - 3:13pm
Andrew Eisen(There's only one Ghostbusters movie in production right now.)06/30/2015 - 3:07pm
Andrew EisenI'd say the fact that you can't tell is a positive sign!06/30/2015 - 3:06pm
Andrew EisenDoes it matter?06/30/2015 - 3:04pm
 

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