Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Fair Use: Protection for Transformative Thinking?

We all know that copyright & fair use are 'gray area' issues in this web 2.0 world of ours. It's difficult to teach these concepts without also considering the exceptions and 'what if' scenarios that we bump into daily on the open web. It's also fair to say that we now operate in a climate of fear that we'll some how transgress in the use of copyrighted materials and find ourselves dragged into some awful publicly accountable show down.

We now have a thought provoking article from Joyce Valenza that shifts the argument to the concept of 'transformativeness' while promoting the idea that fair use should ''preserve the ability of users to promote creativity and innovation."

I urge you all to read:

Fair use and transformativeness: It may shake your world

"As I watched the information and communication landscapes shift over the past few years, I secretly viewed fair use as a doctrine that guided what we couldn't do. Fear and guilt seemed regularly in the way of innovative teaching and creative expression. I was reluctant to use, or bless the use, of copyrighted materials--movies, television, advertising, popular music, etc.--in teaching and student projects, especially those that were broadcast or published online. To avoid danger, I guided teachers and learners to the use of copyright-friendly materials. As wonderful as these growing collections are, sometimes what you really need to use is commercial or more conservatively licensed materials.

Recently my Temple University colleague, Renee Hobbs shared, what was for me, a relatively foreign (but perhaps obvious) idea: copyright is designed not only to protect the rights of owners, but also to preserve the ability of users to promote creativity and innovation."

(Go to original article.)

(School Library Journal; the Never Ending Search. April 1, 2008)

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