Friday, November 05, 2010

UK to adopt US "Fair Use" doctrine to be more "Googly" and Innovative?

The UK Prime Minister has announced that England will study the adoption of use "fair-use" style laws in order to encourage Google type innovation.

Here's an excerpt form an important announcement:

The second new announcement I can make today is to do with intellectual property.

The founders of Google have said they could never have started their company in Britain.

The service they provide depends on taking a snapshot of all the content on the internet at any one time and they feel our copyright system is not as friendly to this sort of innovation as it is in the United States.

Over there, they have what are called ‘fair-use’ provisions, which some people believe gives companies more breathing space to create new products and services.

So I can announce today that we are reviewing our IP laws, to see if we can make them fit for the internet age.

I want to encourage the sort of creative innovation that exists in America.

So - as I've often asked, why should Canada adopt the bad features of US law, such as statutory minimum damages, and be considering DMCA plus TPM protection and not the good features, such as "fair use", especially for education?

Section 107 of the US Copyright Act provides:

Notwithstanding the provisions of sections 106 and 106A, the fair use of a copyrighted work, including such use by reproduction in copies or phonorecords or by any other means specified by that section, for purposes such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching (including multiple copies for classroom use), scholarship, or research, is not an infringement of copyright. In determining whether the use made of a work in any particular case is a fair use the factors to be considered shall include —

(1) the purpose and character of the use, including whether such use is of a commercial nature or is for nonprofit educational purposes;

(2) the nature of the copyrighted work;

(3) the amount and substantiality of the portion used in relation to the copyrighted work as a whole; and

(4) the effect of the use upon the potential market for or value of the copyrighted work.

The fact that a work is unpublished shall not itself bar a finding of fair use if such finding is made upon consideration of all the above factors.

(emphasis added)


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