Without fair use, we wouldn’t be able to criticize, comment
on, parody, or quote anything without permission first. This is the exception
that makes this Yogi Bear
alternative ending possible, that lets you photocopy the pages you need
for that final research paper you’re writing, and that allows Jon Stewart to
show clips from the news networks he’s criticizing.
Not every unauthorized use of a copyrighted work is an
unlawful use. But with the never-ending conversation about copyright
enforcement these days, it would be easy to assume that you can’t even touch a
copyrighted work without permission from its author.
There are several exceptions to copyright—the
government-granted monopoly on the production and distribution of a creative
work. One allows libraries to create archives, another allows you to resell
used textbooks. But every year for the last three years, Public Knowledge has
come together to celebrate our favorite copyright exception hero: fair use.
So join us Friday, May 4, to celebrate how fair use allows
us to create, explore, and challenge the world around us—without asking for
Here’s a sampling of what to look forward to:
Robert Pinsky, former Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry to
the Library of Congress, is the first keynote speaker. As Poet Laureate, Pinsky spearheaded
the Favorite Poem Project, to which thousands of Americans have submitted
readings (both video and audio) of their favorite poems.
Kirby Ferguson, creator of the series Everything is a Remix,
will also deliver a keynote presentation. Showing that no work of art is
created in a vacuum, Ferguson’s web series is a fair use masterpiece that
challenges notions of originality.
and Fair Use
The future of journalism relies on fair use.
Most of the media ventures that are achieving success—online and off—aggregate
and comment on news content. Many mainstream news magazines also rely on their
fair use rights to excerpt others’ news clips for their readers. Websites
like The Huffington Post, Gawker, Newser, and Drudge Report, and publications
like The Week, Newsweek, and Time are all successful because they have the
legal ability to reprint summaries or commentaries of news items because of the
fair use doctrine.
Given the wave of lawsuits regarding copyright in online
journalism and linking practices on blogs, a discussion of fair use in
journalism couldn’t come at a better time.
Panelists: Ryan Grim, Huffington Post; Josh Voorhees,
Slatest; Angela Chuang, AU
Moderated by Joe Torres, Free Press
without Copyright: The Fashion Industry
Because the artistic community in fashion has
long survived and thrived without copyright protection, “remix” in fashion is
boundless—fashion designers are free to riff on anything from their
contemporaries, to trends, to 50-year-old styles. The cycle of
inspiration and imitation are the fashion industry’s bread and butter.
High-end fashion designers draw inspiration from style on the street,
while low-end retailers democratize high-end trends by selling more cheaply
made versions of designer apparel. And because copies quickly saturate
the market and trends so quickly become ubiquitous, each new season brings new
designs and trends.
Adding a new layer of regulation like copyright
protection to the fast-paced fashion industry would only burden it: imagine a
designer seeking legal sign-off on every piece; the top brand going after
competing new-comers; or the new design studio shutting down under the weight
of legal costs. In a world where there are few legal ramifications for direct
copying, the industry relies on social pressure and brand recognition instead.
Panelists: Nora Abousteit, Kollabora.com; Ilse
Metchek, California Fashion Association
Moderated by Marisa Gluck, Radar Research
and Fair Use
For over a century, poetry has been rife with
quotation, appropriation, and remix. Public readings are just one aspect of the
rich culture of poetry in which fair use comes into play. Practices like
allusion and pastiche are not only common, but are a rich and accepted
tradition among poets. In order to pay homage or to critique another poem,
poetry is often highly referential. There is also a long-standing literary
tradition of poetic epigraphs proceeding articles in magazines and chapters in
books. In all these scenarios, fair use is a crucial tool for poets to create
Poetry critics also rely on fair use to a
greater degree in order to write reviews. Without fair use, critics wouldn’t be
able to quote from the poetry they are critiquing. Additionally, new questions
about fair use and copyright are being raised as poets and their publishers
seek new ways to distribute and popularize poetry.
Panelists: Peter Jaszi, AU; Susan Tischy, GMU;
Casey Smith, Corcoran College of Art and Design; David Fenza, AWP
Moderated by Sherwin Siy, Public Knowledge