Professor Peter Jaszi will testify tomorrow before a House Judiciary Subcommittee on the Courts, Intellectual Property and the Internet, as a witness in a hearing on “The Scope of Fair Use.” The hearing will focus on the fair use doctrine, which permits limited unauthorized use of copyrighted material, and which is relied upon to create derivative and transformative works.
Professor Jaszi’s prepared testimony is available here. He makes four main points about fair use: First “the proposition that citizen’s ability to make some socially and economically positive uses of copyrighted material without permission is a right, and now widely recognized as such.” Second, “fair use is working” thanks to the federal courts and the activities of user communities. Third, “lawyers (and their clients) have little real difficulty forecasting likely outcomes” in many fair use cases. Finally, “in only a few short decades, the courts have developed a robust ‘unified field theory’ of fair use which is fully capable of meeting the digital challenge and should be allowed to do so, just as fair use doctrine has been allowed, over more than 170 years, to adapt to other changes in circumstance.”
Professor Jaszi has written extensively on the issue of copyright fair use. Over the past decade he has worked with documentary filmmakers, educators, poets, and academic and research librarians to develop Codes of Best Practice for Fair Use within each of these user communities. He recently coauthored Reclaiming Fair Use with American University School of Communications Professor Patricia Aufderheide.