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Comment "Fair Use" (Score 2, Insightful) 547

Please forgive the vague nature of this post. I once heard an interview with a woman who worked for the copyright office (I think) in some legal capacity. Really, I don't remember exactly who she was, who she worked for, or what she did. It was a while ago, and audio not print. Suffice to say, she had some legal expertise in these matter.

The thing I do remember, very clearly, is her comments on "fair use." She said that "fair use" is hardly ever what we think it is. It is not what is fair. It is not what we want it to be. It is only what the courts have specifically defined it to be. In most cases, things we think are fair use have never been tested by the courts. How the courts would decide if they did hear the case, I would not try to predict.

Unless you can find a legal precedent where the issue you are dealing with has been clearly tested and declared by a court of law to be fair use, do not assume it is. If there are no precedents showing that what you are doing is a violation of copyright, then the other lawyers can also not assume they will prevail.

If you want to be the one to test this in court, more power to you.

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