Thursday, February 26, 2015

"Fair Use Week": Congress should protect defendants who show "good faith"

Internet users are celebrating Fair Use Week as this very long winter peaks, link here. It’s important to remember that speakers overseas often do not have the protection of a “Fair Use” doctrine.
Electronic Frontier Foundation, in an article by Mitch Stoltz, writes that Congress should strengthen Fair Use with a “Do No Harm” policy.  One of the most important ideas is to remove statutory penalties for infringement when the alleged misuse did not actually result in financial loss for the owner, and also when the defendant had acted in “good faith”.  Content creators sometimes mix other artists’ work in ways that courts have never considered, a move that EFF calls “financial Russian Roulette”, almost out of a famous scene in the movie “The Deer Hunter”.  Composers tell me that all music composition involves some copying.  Remember the dreaded phrase, “I’ve heard that before.”  When I go to the movies, I often wonder that – what obscure classical work did the background music come from, not credited.
EFF also suggests that there should exist an exception to DMCA circumvention procedures (Section 1201) when the intention is fair use. 
One good question would be making copies at home (with cell phone cameras) of screenshots from movies for television shows when the use is completely private, and never posted online.  The possibility could exist that in the future technology could scan cloud backups for such “infringements”. 

Man major motion pictures today offer a statement at the end, of the number of jobs supported by making the film, as a further psychological deterrent to piracy.  

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