The Business of Creativity

Houchin Consulting PLLC

Practical (c) Fair Use Tips

Posted on | June 3, 2009 | 2 Comments

I haven’t been blogging a lot lately because I’ve been focusing my writing time on my next book, working title: The Secrets of Creative Business. Yesterday I posted a tweet that I was working on the section of the book covering copyright “Fair Use” and was asked by a Facebook friend to share some practical tips.

Here are a few practical hints:

1. Always ask for permission if you’re using someone’s content.
2. If you don’t get permission, use a minimum of content from anyone else.
3. Give credit for what you use.
4. This is the big one: ADD value to the content you’re using from other people by examining it (criticism – see below) and applying their ideas and/or expression to your audience’s situation filtered through your expertise.

If you do this, you won’t have to lose a lot of sleep over what you’ve used because you will be making a great argument that you’re actually building the marketability of the other person’s work through your use of their content (see factor 4 below).

If you’re ripping someone’s content for its obvious stupidity, then be a bit more careful and talk with your lawyer.  🙂

Just in case you want to read the actual copyright fair use statute:

TITLE 17 > CHAPTER 1 > § 107
§ 107. Limitations on exclusive rights: Fair use

Notwithstanding the provisions of sections 106 and 106A, the fair use of a copyrighted work, including such use by reproduction in copies or phonorecords or by any other means specified by that section, for purposes such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching (including multiple copies for classroom use), scholarship, or research, is not an infringement of copyright. In determining whether the use made of a work in any particular case is a fair use the factors to be considered shall include—

  1. the purpose and character of the use, including whether such use is of a commercial nature or is for nonprofit educational purposes;
  2. the nature of the copyrighted work;
  3. the amount and substantiality of the portion used in relation to the copyrighted work as a whole; and
  4. the effect of the use upon the potential market for or value of the copyrighted work.

The fact that a work is unpublished shall not itself bar a finding of fair use if such finding is made upon consideration of all the above factors.


2 Responses to “Practical (c) Fair Use Tips”

  1. Tips on Copyright and Fair Use |
    June 4th, 2009 @ 12:35 pm

    […] Kevin Houchin has put together a great post on practical tips regarding copyright and “Fair Use” at his blog “The Business of […]

  2. Practical Hints for Fair Use |
    September 14th, 2009 @ 11:11 am

    […] Houchin has a great post providing some basic tips on evaluating Fair Use in Copyright.  Head over to his blog “The Business of Creativity” to check it […]

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