Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Fair Use...

I just read this post which I find interesting, yet something about smells "fishy" to me...
As TechCrunch reports... If you listen to the "copyright" info during an NFL broadcast, it can be interpreted as meaning that you and your buddies can't talk about the big Monday night game on Tuesday. It's ridiculous. Well a group (lots of groups here) called the "Computer and Communications Industry" has filed an FTC complaint about this broad (some say misleading) copyright statement. They say it's misleading because it does not tell the consumers that they have certain rights under the "fair use" section of copyright law.
Fair use is a tricky on in copyright law. It's been abused on both sides. For example... it is NOT legal for a teacher to copy a text book 25 times to hand out to her 25 students. But it IS legal for her to copy a bunch of pages for her to keep on file and use how she wishes.
I first ran into these issues of "fair use" when I was in art school. Several projects meant that we had to go look at other designers and artists work. Then we had to show which artists we liked, why, etc... kinda like a book report. Well, when I went to the local Kinkos to make some copies, they would not let me do it. They said they had a policy that would not let Anyone copy anything that even looked like it might be covered under copyright law. I tried to argue the "but it's considered "fair use"" - but the clerk didn't want to hear me, nor did they care. (I later went back that night when there were not that many people and did it anyway).
This is the reason why Every Library in America has a copy machine, where you can make copies of books.
So, it turns out a lot of big corporations are getting behind this fair use issue... and THIS is the part that seems fishy to me. Why are the Corps wanting to push this? In general, Micro$oft and Google and Yahoo, are very "anti-fair use". They are software companies with huge EULA's that people have to read through (and never do). I don't get it.
Well, if nothing else from the above article, I learned of a new website called "Defend Fair Use". I'll have to check that out.

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