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In European regulatory discourse as well as copyright research, there is a debate whether the US Fair Use model is better suited to deal with innovation in general and digital challenges in particular than the European system of exceptions. It makes sens to discuss the state of the art of research on Fair Use in the US and what we can learn in Europe.

In the course of a visit in Europe, Pamela Samuelson from UC Berkeley Law School & School of Information gave an interesting talk about “Fair Use in Europe? Lessons from the US and Open Questions”. Her main message could be summarized in two points: First, flexible regulation such as the US Fair Use clause is better suited to rapid technological changes than the comparably static system of exceptions and limitations in European copyright. To illustrate this point, Samuelson mentioned several innovations such as scholarly data-mining in Google Book Search (Ngram Viewer)* or Brewster Kale’s “Wayback Machine” that would have been much more difficult to realize without the Fair Use exemption.

Second, Samuelson explicitly did not recommend to get rid of or avoid specific exceptions all together; rather, keeping limitations and exceptions that provide legal certainty would be desirable even when introducing some form of fair-use-like clause into the European copyright system.

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One of the things that make blogs particularly interesting are series. The “series” series recommends series at related blogs. This time I am introducing the online video series called “Everything is a Remix“, featured on a blog with the same name.

Technically, “Everything is a Remix” is not so much a series presented at blog but a blog devoted to a series of the same name. By now, New York-based filmmaker Kirby Ferguson has put together the first two of what in the end should be four parts of a video series to demonstrate the importance remixing had and still has for our culture.  I find the two episodes so far more than stunning. While the first episode focuses remixing in the field of music, the second episode deals with movies. In addition to his impressive videos, Ferguson also meticulously lists his source material (e.g. list of songs used in Pt. I) and gives detailed transcripts of his videos (e.g. transcript of Pt. II).

Everything is a Remix, Pt. I:

Everything is a Remix, Pt. II:

When watching the videos in Europe, keep in mind that technically publishing those most creative works for free on his blog does not conform to European copyright law, which lacks a general fair use clause that allows such derivative work in the US.

(leonhard)

The Book

Governance across borders: transnational fields and transversal themes. Leonhard Dobusch, Philip Mader and Sigrid Quack (eds.), 2013, epubli publishers.
October 2020
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