Event: Fair Use and Promoting Balanced Copyright Laws in Creative Practices and Visual Arts

For the last decade, Peter Jaszi has been focusing how the fair use doctrine affects creative communities, and in assisting some of those communities to exercise fair use confidently and responsibly. Recently, Peter has been working with the College Art Association (CAA) to develop a Code of Best Practices for Fair Use in the Visual Arts, which is helping artists, teachers, scholars, museum professionals and others to take advantage of their rights.

In a few weeks Peter will be visiting Australia, along with several other international copyright experts, for a series of events hosted by various NGO’s. The topic of these events – the role of fair use in promoting balanced copyright law – should be of interest to many creative people and the organizations that support them. Peter invites you to participate in one or more of the activities planned, and to encourage friends and colleagues to do likewise. The centrepiece event – the Australian Digital Alliance’s 2017 Forum will be held February 24 in Canberra. Other public meetings will take place in Melbourne and Sydney over the course of several weeks.  All these are open and (except for the Forum) free to the public.  

There are also a number of smaller workshops specifically for creators which have been organized, of which several might be of interest to the visuals arts professionals:

·     Fine Arts Discussion – Melbourne, Monday, Feb. 13, 10:00am-12:30am 

·     Creative Practices (Open) Discussion – Melbourne, Tuesday, Feb. 14, 10:00am-12:30pm

·     Creative Practices (Open) Discussion – Sydney, Wednesday, Feb 22, 2:30pm-5:00pm

The venues will be announced soon, but in each case they will be near the city centre. Food will be available before or after the session. An on-line registration form is here

As you know, both the Australian Law Reform and the Productivity Commission have recently recommended that the copyright statue be revised to provide a general, open, flexible “fair use” exception to the rights that copyright owners are granted.  This recommendation is likely to be on the Parliament’s agenda in months to come. Very briefly, the rationale for it is that such an exception would contribute significantly to technological and cultural innovation in Australia, without significantly affecting either existing or emergent markets for copyrighted works. Among the evidence supporting this conclusion are the experiences that other copyright systems have had with fair use or similar doctrines. They’re also aware that foreign experiences with fair use are cited by opponents of introducing it to Australia.

A primary objective of the events in this program will be to examine the benefits and costs that have been associated with introducing fair use into national laws. The United States, for example, has had a long connection with the doctrine, dating back to the late 19th century. Indeed, it often is claimed that the growth of cultural and information industries in the U.S. is as closely associated with its flexible approach to copyright exceptions as with the strong protection represented by the law’s default settings. More recently, other nations have chosen the fair use route (the Philippines, South Korea, and Israel, to name a few) – and is under active consideration elsewhere (Singapore and South Africa included).  Still other national copyright laws, like those of Brazil and Canada, have been interpreted to provide user rights of similar scope, though under different rubrics.

These national experiences, and others, will be explored in the various scheduled sessions.  Among other questions, the following will be addressed:

·     How, exactly, does fair uses enable creativity?

·     Does fair use create a haven for copyright pirates or piracy?

·     What is the connection between fair use and concepts of human rights?

·     Does fair use give rise to problematic levels of uncertainty or unpredictability?

·     Do lawyers and courts find fair use difficult to implement as an institutional matter?

Please circulate this notice to others who you think might be interested. 

Feel free to e-mail Peter or Meredith with any questions – pjaszi@wcl.american.edu and mjacob@wcl.american.edu.

     Peter Jaszi

     Professor of Law

     American University Law School

     Washington, D.C.

Spread the word. Share this post!