Fair Use

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  • Topic: Fair use, United States copyright law, Public domain
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  • Published : May 13, 2013
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TUSHNET_POST_FLIP2.DOC

12/1/2004 6:05:00 PM

Essay

Copy This Essay: How Fair Use Doctrine Harms Free Speech and How Copying Serves It Rebecca Tushnet†

CONTENTS INTRODUCTION.......................................................................................... 537 I. OVERVIEW: THE FIRST AMENDMENT, COPYRIGHT, AND THE CONFLICT BETWEEN THEM ................................................................ 538 A. What Free Speech Is For ............................................................. 538 B. Copyright and Fair Use ............................................................... 540 C. The First Amendment Value of Copying ...................................... 545

II. LIMITING THE FIRST AMENDMENT BY INVOKING FAIR USE .............. 547 A. How the First Amendment Value of Dissent Maps onto Transformative Fair Use.............................................................. 549 B. How the Identification of Transformative Use with the First Amendment Obscures Other Free Speech Values........................ 553 † Assistant Professor, NYU School of Law; Visiting Associate Professor, Georgetown University Law Center, 2004-2005. Thanks to participants in the NYU Brown Bag Lunch series, the Brooklyn Law School Faculty Workshop, the Georgetown Advanced Constitutional Law Seminar, the Virginia Intellectual Property Colloquium, Amy Adler, Jack Balkin, Rachel Barkow, Lillian BeVier, Julie Cohen, Francesca Coppa, Jeffrey Cunard, Rochelle Dreyfuss, Harry First, Laura Heymann, Larry Kramer, Larry Lessig, Neil Netanel, Richard Primus, Kermit Roosevelt, Zach Schrag, Eugene Volokh, Tim Wu, and Diane Zimmerman for comments. As always, special thanks to Mark Tushnet, for just the right amount of advice.

535

Electronic copy available at: http://ssrn.com/abstract=1793181

TUSHNET_POST_FLIP2.DOC

12/1/2004 6:05:00 PM

536

The Yale Law Journal

[Vol. 114: 535

1. Copyright’s Other Speech-Protective Limits......................... 553 2. The Redefinition of Fair Use To Suppress Unauthorized Copying ................................................................................. 555 C. Is It the First Amendment’s Fault? .............................................. 560 III. THE VALUE OF PURE COPYING .......................................................... 562 A. Copying’s Value to the Audience ................................................. 565 B. Copying’s Value to Speakers ....................................................... 566 1. Self-Expression...................................................................... 568 2. Persuasion ............................................................................. 574 3. Affirmation ............................................................................ 578 C. Copyright’s Real-World Suppressive Effects............................... 582 IV. CODA: SOME SPECULATION ABOUT COPYRIGHT’S EFFECTS ON THE FIRST AMENDMENT ..................................................................... 586 CONCLUSION ............................................................................................. 587

Electronic copy available at: http://ssrn.com/abstract=1793181

TUSHNET_POST_FLIP2.DOC

12/1/2004 6:05:00 PM

2004]

Copy This Essay

537

INTRODUCTION What is copying good for? Why would someone of good faith want to copy? Debates over massive file sharing of music and movies have helped to make “copier” a synonym for “pirate.” At the same time, many people, particularly in the academy, have expressed concern about the use of copyright to suppress critical and creative—“transformative,” in copyright’s terms—uses of copyrighted works, such as a retelling of Gone with the Wind from the perspective of an invented mulatto character. Defenders of transformative uses have invoked the First Amendment to bolster claims that such uses should not be subject to the copyright owner’s permission. But this focus on transformation is critically incomplete,...
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