Essay on The Relevance of Fair Use Doctrine in the Digital World

6217 Words Jun 9th, 2012 25 Pages
Different proposals have been made to restrict the “fair use” exception in a digital context. Digitization provides tools to detect private digital copying of a protected work and to limit it. This may allow title-holders to prevent practices that have been important for educational and scholarly purposes. Given the power conferred by the technology, “fair use” exceptions established by the law may become inapplicable and substantially affect access to information, particularly in developing countries. The protection of databases, as established or proposed in some jurisdictions, may aggravate this problem. The development of new principles for the application in this context of “fair use” needs to be considered, including
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In addition, as a result of the explosive growth of the Internet, any work may be distributed worldwide, essentially instantaneously and at an insignificant cost. Data transmission is no longer limited to a one-to-one basis, but one-to-many or even one-to-all basis. Internet thus becomes a "broadcasting" system. The growth of the system and the improvement of transmission techniques challenges the market position of several industries and services, including those related to voice transmission , radio broadcasting, phonograms, publishing of literary works and computer programs .
These developments have polarized the opinions on the ways in which copyright law should react, in order to protect the producers and suppliers of different kinds of works while preserving the interest of the public, particularly in relation to research and education. This paper will try to make an analysis on the relevance of the doctrine of fair use in this digital era.
2. Overview
The doctrine of “fair use” exempts certain unauthorized uses of copyrighted material from infringement liability. The central concept underlying the doctrine—an assessment of the “fairness” of the use in question based on a balancing of several factors—is inherently subjective. As a result, what one judge in his or her personal view regards as a “fair use” may sharply contrast with what

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