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“Fair Use Doctrine”

Common Myths of “Fair Use”

Most people have heard the term “fair use” in the context of copyright, but it seems that very few really understand it. They seem to think it gives them the right to use someone else’s work under certain conditions. First of all, fair use is not a “right” at all, it is an “affirmative defense.” […]

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5 Myths About Copyright

In the olden days (before 1989), in order for a copyright to be in effect and remain effective, the author of the work was required to give notice to the public by putting a copyright notice on the work. No longer.

Copyright is effective as soon as the work is created. There is no requirement that the author put a notice of copyright on his or her work. There are advantages, however, to doing so. One is that it puts other people on notice that you are claiming the copyright

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Using Snippets of Music in Your Film

If your film is a documentary or news piece that comments on music (whether your comment is positive or negative), you may be entitled to use segments of the music to illustrate your point. If your film is a fiction narrative and the characters happen to be discussing a particular piece of music, whether that can be considered fair use is a bit more of a gray area.

United States Copyright law (in 17 U.S.C. § 107) contains a provision for “fair use of a copyrighted work” for purposes such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching, scholarship, or research. This provision allows, among other things, journalists and critics to quote passages of a work in their reportage on that work.

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