Foreword: Fair Use in the Digital Age, and Campbell v. Acuff-Rose at 21

19 Pages Posted: 12 Jul 2015

See all articles by Zahr Said

Zahr Said

University of Washington - School of Law

Date Written: July 10, 2015


Memorable for its pop-cultural context — 2 Live Crew's vulgar parody of a rock standard by Roy Orbison — Campbell v. Acuff-Rose (1994) has also generated heated debate among scholars and practitioners of high caliber. By many accounts, it is one of the three most important fair use opinions in American law. The doctrinal discussion of transformation in copyright law originated in the context of highly charged debates about the meaning of cultural appropriation and power. And the case also came at the beginning of tremendous technological change — including, for lack of a more nuanced way to put it, the internet as we now know it.

This essay reflects on Campbell and introduces the Washington Law Review's symposium in which eight scholars consider the many ways in which Campbell remains relevant in spite of the technological and cultural changes since 1994. Contributors include Judge Pierre N. Leval and Professors Pamela Samuelson, Jeanne C. Fromer, Jessica Litman, Lydia Loren, William McGeveran, R. Anthony Reese, and Rebecca Tushnet. This Symposium serves as an opportunity to assess the quality and extent of the evolution of transformative use; it also offers a snapshot of the views of some of our most prominent minds in copyright law, as they assess the state of the field today. Their observations may help us all look forward and begin to predict what subsequent courts may do as they continue to rely on fair use as a means of determining rights in an era of rapid and constant technological change.

Keywords: copyright, fair use, transformative use, commercial use, parody, technology, popular culture

Suggested Citation

Said, Zahr, Foreword: Fair Use in the Digital Age, and Campbell v. Acuff-Rose at 21 (July 10, 2015). Washington Law Review, Vol. 90, No. 2, pp. 579-96, 2015, University of Washington School of Law Research Paper No. 2015-22, Available at SSRN:

Zahr Said (Contact Author)

University of Washington - School of Law ( email )

William H. Gates Hall
Box 353020
Seattle, WA 98105-3020
United States


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