How does fair-use law work?

By Kristopher A. Nelson
in October 2009

200 words / 1 min.
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This is an excellent write-up about how fair use works, along with its complexities (and areas where it is more straightforward, generally where courts have already ruled on a very similar use previously).


Note: this post is from 2009. Evaluate with care and in light of later events.

This is an excellent write-up about how fair use works, along with its complexities (and areas where it is more straightforward, generally where courts have already ruled on a very similar use previously):

If you kill someone, you’ve committed murder, right? Yes — unless he was about to shoot you first, in which case we call it self-defense. Fair use takes that same concept to copyright law. It is all about justification, and this is a key to understanding it. Fair use allows use of a work that would ordinarily constitute infringement, if that use is justified (or excused, if you like) with some compelling reason.

How does fair-use law work? – By Tim Wu – Slate Magazine.

Recommended reading.