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April 20, 2004
Bad Faith Fair Use
The Second Circuit Court of appeals today issued a ruling that republication on the Internet of quotes from an illegally acquired seminar manual can still be fair use, despite the fact that they were acquired in bad faith. The Court held that while good/bad faith does factor into the equation, the overall issue of transformation is what is most important to deciding what is fair and what isn't.
While the majority opinion will only hold interest for the true lawgeeks in the audience, I recommend reading Judge Dennis Jacob's concurring opinion which contains many spirited exhibitions on fair use, including this gem:
"Fair use is not a doctrine that exists by sufferance, or that is earned by good works and clean morals; it is a right--codified in § 107 and recognized since shortly after the Statute of Anne--that is necessary to fulfill copyrights very purpose, [t]o promote the Progress of science and the useful arts . . . .
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