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Fair Use Generates $4.7 Trillion For US Economy 160

Hugh Pickens writes "The Hill spotlights a study released by the Computer & Communications Industry Association, which concludes that companies relying on fair use generate $4.7 trillion in revenue to the US economy every year. The report claims that fair use — an exception to the copyright law that allows limited use of copyrighted materials — is crucial to innovation. It adds that employment in fair use industries grew from 16.9 million in 2002 to 17.5 million in 2007 and one out of eight US workers is employed by a company benefiting from protections provided by fair use (PDF). Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-CA) says the reasonable fair use of content needs to be preserved; otherwise, content owners will control access to movies, music, and art that will no longer be available for schools, research, or web browsing. Lofgren tied the copyright issue with the question of net neutrality. Without net neutrality 'content owners will completely control and lock down content. We're going to be sorry characters when we actually don't see fair use rights on the Web,' says Lofgren. 'If we allow our freedom to be taken for commercial purposes, we will have some explaining to do to our founding fathers and those who died for our freedom.'"
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Fair Use Generates $4.7 Trillion For US Economy

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  • by ugen ( 93902 ) on Wednesday April 28, 2010 @08:16AM (#32012612)

    The vehemently anti-copyright stance of Slashdot is, in my view, not entirely thought through. Remember - GPL (or any other software license) is a *copyright*, protected and upheld by the same laws that protect music distributors and the like. From the point of view of the law MPAA, RIAA and FSF aren't really that different (yes, some do it for money, while others for fame, "principles" and/or a bit less money). Undermining copyright protections will not be "selective", though you may wish it were. If music or movies become trivial to copy against wishes of their authors or "copyright holders", so will the software under GPL.

    Just something for you to think about.

  • by aussersterne ( 212916 ) on Wednesday April 28, 2010 @08:18AM (#32012632) Homepage

    the silly brainwashing about fair use pounded into students' heads by other well-meaning but misguided instructors.

    I have students afraid to read books before writing papers because if they "get an idea from a book" and use it, it's plagiarism. The entire notion of citations has gone right past them; all they know is that everything they do has to be "original."

    I routinely hear that they didn't know they could use a quote because they thought it was "stealing" and are afraid of reading relevant works first so that they don't "copy an idea" without meaning to.

    The other half of the students, steeped in remix and sampling culture and fancying themselves anti-IP warriors, routinely copy and paste without citing, then give me lectures about how IP is coming to dominate society. They intentionally refuse to cite out of a misguided sense of activism and as a result flunk assignments and even classes and are referred to disciplinary bodies where they presumably make the same arguments.

    There is little sanity and a lot of craziness coming out of the discourse on IP, and we're going to see it affect us as the current generation of students enters the workforce.

  • by abigsmurf ( 919188 ) on Wednesday April 28, 2010 @08:45AM (#32012864)
    The whole issue of fair use has been warped quite a bit by people believing they've a good knowledge of related laws because of reading tech sites and places like Digg, Reddit and Slashdot.

    Too many people look at cases that are right at the legal limit of fair use and had to be argued heavily in court and be well justified. Rather than looking that at the point where fair use ends, they see that as a new baseline and then step over the mark whilst thinking the law is on their side.
  • by commodore64_love ( 1445365 ) on Wednesday April 28, 2010 @08:45AM (#32012868) Journal

    Also note that not all of us agree with your goal of destroying copyright. Speaking for myself, I merely want to limit it to its original 14-year-lifespan with the possibility of ONE renewal of that license by the original creator (see US Copyright Act of 1790). i.e. I think everything pre-1980 should be public domain.

    Of course Stallman and the rest always have the right to NOT copyright their creations. They have the right to release it to the public domain for the benefit of all.

  • by commodore64_love ( 1445365 ) on Wednesday April 28, 2010 @08:56AM (#32012984) Journal

    Vice-versa I was visiting an engineering school, and the students came-up with a very ingenious idea to convert tidal waves into air motion and then electricity (via windmill action). I asked where they got the idea, and they said they saw it on the internet.

    Yes they copied the idea, but so what? That's how science advances. One guy has an idea and ~10,000 other guys work to perfect it and make it reality. As you said, as long as they cite it, I have no problem with it. "Stable ownership is the gift of social law, and is given late in the progress of society. It would be curious then, if an idea, the fugitive fermentation of an individual brain, could, of natural right, be claimed in exclusive and stable property. If nature has made any one thing less susceptible than all others of exclusive property, it is the action of the thinking power called an idea, which an individual may exclusively possess as long as he keeps it to himself; but the moment it is divulged, it forces itself into the possession of every one, and the receiver cannot dispossess himself of it.

    "Its peculiar character, too, is that no one possesses the less, because every other possesses the whole of it. He who receives an idea from me, receives instruction himself without lessening mine; as he who lights his taper at mine, receives light without darkening me. That ideas should freely spread from one to another over the globe, for the moral and mutual instruction of man, and improvement of his condition, seems to have been peculiarly and benevolently designed by nature, when she made them, like fire, expansible over all space, without lessening their density in any point, and like the air in which we breathe, move, and have our physical being, incapable of confinement or exclusive appropriation. Inventions then cannot, in nature, be a subject of property." - Thomas Jefferson in the 1780s

  • by Yvanhoe ( 564877 ) on Wednesday April 28, 2010 @09:00AM (#32013024) Journal

    There is little sanity and a lot of craziness coming out of the discourse on X, and we're going to see it affect us

    Corrected. Replace X with "IP", "climate change", "economy", "healthcare", "drugs", "terrorism", "the tube network"...

  • by Artifakt ( 700173 ) on Wednesday April 28, 2010 @10:05AM (#32013908)

    Fair use is quantifiable in many cases, but it's not simple enough to always put numbers on it. It's been up to the courts to decide in many cases, because fair use also impacts cases such as libel suits.
        Someone quotes a paragraph from a one page essay by someone else. Is that fair use? We could go by some simple rule, i.e. it's 1/4 or less of the whole by word count, but why did someone quote an entire paragraph in the first place? Was that much needed to establish context? Were there several ideas in the same paragraph that the second writer wished to comment on separately? Has the first writer been complaining that people were taking her remarks out of context, quoting isolated sentences in a misleading way, and yet is now complaining people are quoting too much of her works? It's the real world - deciding what's fair in general is part of fair use.
          We need more actual legal codification, but it should probably be to set minima, as in using no more than this percentage of a song is absolutely allowable, higher percentages may be fair use also for various reasons. We also need to expand that list of various reasons, which now cites some examples such as satire or parody, academic use, and others, as there was no intent to make that list comprehensive when it was developed.

  • by fandingo ( 1541045 ) on Wednesday April 28, 2010 @12:27PM (#32016676)

    Every time I read asinine responses about "the good old days" I get more convinced that people are deluded. Society is better in every respect than it was two hundred years ago, get over it.

Outside of a dog, a book is man's best friend. Inside of a dog, it is too dark to read.