Copyright 2 / Fair Use

animated justice balance INTERNET 2013


Each professional and creative community applies fair use uniquely, depending on how copyrighted material is used for its own purposes. For example, art historians use copyrighted materials somewhat differently than either artists or historians.

Community consensus on what is considered to be fair use can provide guidance to people within the community who need to use copyrighted materials freely in order to produce their own work. It can also be valuable to courts that must evaluate whether a claim of alleged infringement is valid or not. Documentary filmmakers – as a community– asserted the need to be able to quote from other films and videos in making their own films.

Until recently, a culture of fear had led documentarians to avoid a wide range of subjects including political and social commentary, musical subjects and popular culture. Many documentarians—as well as lawyers, insurers, distributors, and broadcasters with whom they interacted to release their works—felt that every single use of a copyrighted work needed to be paid for through getting permissions and clearance rights. Many people in this creative community did not understand how fair use applied to their work.

When filmmakers developed the Documentary Filmmakers’ Statement of Best Practices in Fair Use, they addressed these problems. They identified four principles concerning their most typical uses of copyrighted materials as falling within the doctrine of fair use: using copyrighted materials for media criticism; quoting copyrighted works of popular culture to illustrate an argument or point; capturing copyrighted media content in the process of filming something else; and using copyrighted material in a historical sequence.

When the Statement of Best Practices was released, filmmaker Byron Hurt, creator of Beyond Beats and Rhymes, a film that explores the representation of gender in hip-hop music, employed the Statement in order to release his film at the Sundance Film Festival. This film used many examples from music videos to make its point. The film never could have been made if the filmmaker needed to get permission from copyright holders. Clearly, the Statement of Best Practices has had a beneficial effect for both filmmakers and the general public.

angrypoohjar  Related links:



Copyright and Fair Use Website by


Click below for 38 minutes lecture with Professor William Fisher, CopyrightX: 1.4, The Foundations of Copyright Law: Multilateral Treaties.


YouTube Copyright School


Write an article and publish it on your WordPress talking about the 4 Copyright fair use factors, list them and explain them briefly (Copy and paste not allowed) and SOLVE the test below and send a screenshot of your score via email to your instructor.