Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Fair Use and You Tube

Since I am an artist/writer copyright law is one thing that I have researched. I am always an advocate for asking permission to use a created work but sometimes things fall under fair use law.

As this article at says 'Under the "fair use" rule of copyright law, an author may make limited use of another author's work without asking permission.'

The fair use rule limits use to commentary, news, educational purposes, research, and parody. By taking clips of works and posting them on You Tube, or any other venue, without appropriate use you are basically breaking the law.

Now I believe that my previous post about the film "The Mystery of Picasso" was fair use since I was using it in a commentary form and did not show the entire film, but merely an illustration of what you can expect, in a similar way as a late night talk show. But, After going back to You Tube and looking up Picasso I realized that someone had basically taken the entire film and posted it in pieces.

This clearly does not fall under fair use since only a small portion of a work can be used under fair use, even if it is presented in pieces, and I did not see any reasonable commentary by the postee.

One thing to be careful of is the use of a single image. Since showing the entirety of a single image is akin to copying an entire book or film, the only usage that would fall under fair use would be to show a smaller portion of the image.

A general rule to follow is that if you are using more than a snippet of the work and do not provide some sort of commentary or transformation to the work, you are not protected by fair use.

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