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Fair Use and Best Practices: Surprising Success

By Pat Aufderheide and Peter Jaszi of American University

Pat Aufderheide is Professor in the School of Communication at American University and Director of the Center for Social Media there. She is the author most recently of Documentary Film: A Very Short Introduction (Oxford University Press, 2007), and the recipient most recently of the International Documentary Association’s Career Achievement in Scholarship Award (2006).

Peter Jaszi is a Professor at the Washington College of Law, American University, and Co-Director of the Program on Information Justice and Intellectual Property there. He also directs the Glushko-Samuelson Intellectual Property Clinic.  A Trustee of the Copyright Society and co-author of a standard textbook on the subject, he recently received the American Library Association's L. Ray Patterson Copyright Award.

The viability of fair use—legitimate, unauthorized use of copyrighted material under certain circumstances--has come into question, both with aggressive policing of copyright by large media holders and with changing digital practices. And yet fair use is arguably the most important feature that maintains copyright law’s constitutionality; without flexible, useable exemptions to copyright ownership rights, the Supreme Court has held, copyright law could clash wit...

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