Previous by Date Index by Date
Threaded Index
Next by Date

Previous by Thread Next by Thread

Re: Multimedia Fair Use Guidelines

From:  Peter Graham, Rutgers University Libraries

Stan D, in responding to Rod S., says:

>The "mechanical and rigid limitations..." are there to provide a clear
>precise guide to creating multimedia projects under fair use. A single
>multimedia project may contain anywhere from several hundred to several
>thousand separate pieces of text and media. The task of applying the four
>factors of fair use to each and every one of these segments appears to be
>significantly more onerous that keeping track to the duration of each

In this passage, and elsewhere in his message responding to Rod S., Stan
makes clear that the onus is on the user of information rather than on the
putative intellectual property owner.  I do not believe that this was the
intent or practice of the 1976 copyright law sections dealing with fair
use, though perhaps I could be better informed.  In any case, the argument
that the amount of labor involved in keeping track is a reason for
imposing restrictions is an unwarranted presumption that the user is
incapable of making such judgements or keeping track of what is necessary
to be kept track of, an assertion that I think is at least arguable. 

Apparently the owners' side (or at least Stan D, who is taking their case) 
considers that it is saving the user side a record-keeping effort by
setting up stringent requirements.  I believe the user side would prefer
not to have this kindness exercised.  In addition, I don't think the "task
of applying the factors of fair use" to large numbers of segments is more
or less difficult than keeping track of dates and times since first used
for such a number of segments, a requirement elsewhere imposed by the

What the argument seems to be leading toward is an understanding that the
guidelines presume a lack of ethical behavior on the part of the user,
necessitating strict, accountable, quantitative and measurable behavior
patterns.  Such lack of ethical behavior is not (so far as I know) 
documented with respect to teaching or scholarly use, and the admitted
existence of anecdotal violations should not be an excuse for constraining
the vast majority of well-intentioned users who, let me say again, are
asserting "the progress of science and the useful arts."  It is
disconcerting to see our colleagues participating in such constraints
under the impression that they are saving themselves and their colleagues
labor or inconvenience, but however in fact at the potential cost of loss
of very real and defensible rights.  --pg

Peter Graham     Rutgers University Libraries
169 College Ave., New Brunswick, NJ 08903  (908)445-5908; fax(908)445-5888
© 1996, 1997 Yale University Library
Please read our Disclaimer
E-mail us with feedback