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Fair Use and Fairness on Campus


Deborah R. Gerhardt


University of North Carolina (UNC) at Chapel Hill - School of Law; University of North Carolina (UNC) at Chapel Hill

Madelyn F. Wessel


University of Virginia

April 23, 2010

North Carolina Journal of Law and Technology, Vol. 11, Spring 2010
UNC Legal Studies Research Paper No. 1594934

Abstract:     
Copyright protection was meant to promote learning; yet copyright law too often thwarts this very purpose. Fair use is the primary means to restore the balance between the copyright regime’s enablement of proprietary control and the public good of access. It is a right that must be exercised if it is not to be lost. This article demonstrates why fair use is so critical to higher education, and seeks to clarify legal ambiguities of the law of fair use in order to better align this doctrine with critical educational goals. To illustrate the importance of the issue, we present data demonstrating the lack of equality in campus access to and use of information. For educational institutions with limited resources, fair use is of crucial importance, enabling faculty and students to access reasonable amounts of unlicensed content for scholarly and educational purposes. For individual scholars with limited access to copyright counsel or institutional subsidies for permissions and fees, fair use is also of crucial importance, enabling dissemination and publication of research. Unequal resources makes the lack of clarity and reluctance to use and defend fair use within the academy especially problematic. Fair use muscles may atrophy and flex, but the latter mode of action is far more empowering to the academic mission and far better aligned with the Founders’ understanding that copyright is intrinsically entwined with public access.

Number of Pages in PDF File: 71

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Date posted: April 23, 2010  

Suggested Citation

Gerhardt, Deborah R. and Wessel, Madelyn F., Fair Use and Fairness on Campus (April 23, 2010). North Carolina Journal of Law and Technology, Vol. 11, Spring 2010; UNC Legal Studies Research Paper No. 1594934. Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=1594934

Contact Information

Deborah R. Gerhardt (Contact Author)
University of North Carolina (UNC) at Chapel Hill - School of Law ( email )
Van Hecke-Wettach Hall, 160 Ridge Road
CB #3380
Chapel Hill, NC 27599-3380
United States
919-962-7219 (Phone)
919-962-3375 (Fax)
HOME PAGE: http://www.law.unc.edu/faculty/directory/gerhardtdeborahr/default.aspx
University of North Carolina (UNC) at Chapel Hill ( email )
Chapel Hill, NC 27599
United States
Madelyn F. Wessel
University of Virginia (UVA) ( email )
P.O. Box 400114
Charlottesville, VA 22904-4114
United States
434-982-2941 (Phone)
434-924-1431 (Fax)
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