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Training Your Faculty about Copyright When the Lawyer Isn't Looking
Posted on 14 August 2014 by Shahril Effendi Bin Ibrahim (Senior Librarian)
Authorship Details
Thomas J. Tobin
Publication Details
Language: 
English
Resource Type: 
Article
Publication Date: 
Summer 2014, Vol. 14, No. 2
Publication Title: 
Online Journal of Distance Learning Administration (OJDLA)
Volume: 
14
Issue or Number: 
2
Summary
At one point in the spy-caper parody film Goldmember, Austin Powers and his friends are chasing the movie's villain through Japan. Their car gets stuck inside a giant foam dinosaur, which then drives through a crowded square. Panicked citizens scream and run. The scene then focuses on two Japanese men in business suits: Man 1 [Brian Tee]: Run! It's Godzilla! Man 2 [Masi Oka]: It looks like Godzilla, but due to international copyright laws, it's not. Man 1: Still, we should run like it is Godzilla! Man 2 [to the camera]: Though it isn't. Both: Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa! (Godzilla Scene, 2006) This scene (see http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Fu62k4K4sQ4 to watch a fan-uploaded copy) elicits a laugh from viewers because in everyday life, we seldom think about intellectual property and copyright, let alone interrupt moments of terror to do so. U.S. copyright law is clear about the protections afforded to owners of intellectual property—like the writers and movie-makers who own the character Godzilla—when such property is used for commercial purposes. However, what should faculty members in higher-education institutions do when they want to show scenes from Goldmember to their students during classroom sessions, or as part of online courses? Copyright law is less specific about the "fair use" exception for scholarly purposes (17 US Code § 107). Jonathan Band recently wrote about the relationship between specific exceptions in copyright law and fair-use provisions: The Copyright Act generally does not explain the relationship between the specific exceptions and fair use. The one departure from this silence occurs in 17 USC § 108, which provides exceptions for libraries and archives. Section 108(f)(4) states that nothing in section 108 "in any way affects the right of fair use as provided by section 107." This savings clause has been understood to mean that the exceptions enumerated in section 108 do not restrict the availability of fair use to libraries and archives. In other words, libraries and archives can still rely on fair use to engage in activities not explicitly permitted under section 108. (Band, 2012) Band's point is that "fair use" extends beyond specific exceptions from copyright based on the type of entity involved in the use of copyrighted content.
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