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June 14, 2019

A note on "fair use"

Screen Shot 2019-06-10 at 11.59.08 AM

In the early days of boj, some fifteen years ago, I was scrupulous about never republishing an article without editing it significantly.

I still occasionally got irate or threatening emails telling me to take stuff down: done and dusted. 

As time has passed and the web has shaken off its early growing pains, more likely than not publishers are happy to have you copy things intact, as long as you credit them and link back directly to the original source.

One thing about the doctrine of "fair use" remains a philosophical conundrum to me, regardless.

Consider the previous post, on Japanese scissors. 

The entire text — and photos — of an article in Nikkei Asian Review appear in my post.

But — my Crack Research Team©® spent some time and energy chasing down photos of some of the scissors cited whose images did not appear in the original article.

The original story featured six photos of scissors, whereas mine uses those six along with six more I added — a total of twelve.

Does my post thus differ sufficiently from the Nikkei Asian Review piece that it qualifies as original, and thus not a violation of the standard of "fair use?"

As I've always interpreted "fair use," it includes taking the original and then modifying it in some significant way.

The arguments center on the meaning of the word "significant."

Here is the back story to the image that appears at the top of this post, about a legal dispute over "fair use" in the realm of the art world.

June 14, 2019 at 04:01 PM | Permalink


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