User-Generated Discontent: Transformation in Practice

21 Pages Posted: 16 Jun 2008


Fair use is the province of creators, not lawyers. That is the thrust of a number of initiatives designed to make fair use salient to ordinary people in their capacities as creators. Copyright myths and legends are, of course, widespread. What this paper focuses on, however, are organized or semi-organized attempts to articulate fair use principles, usually centered on the concept of transformativeness, from the perspective of individual creators who routinely expect to criticize, comment on, or just quote existing copyrighted materials as part of their new works. Usergenerated fair use principles can be informed by case law, but they are not limited by it. Reciprocally, nonlawyers' concepts of transformativeness could enrich legal understandings of the appropriate boundaries of fair use.

Keywords: copyright, fair use, transformativeness

Suggested Citation

Tushnet, Rebecca, User-Generated Discontent: Transformation in Practice. Columbia Journal of Law & the Arts, Vol. 31, 2008, Georgetown Public Law Research Paper No. 1146461, Available at SSRN:

Georgetown Law Center Submitter (Contact Author)

Georgetown University Law Center ( email )

600 New Jersey Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20001
United States

Rebecca Tushnet

Harvard Law School ( email )

Cambridge, MA
United States

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