This recent post from Kevin Smith’s Scholarly Communications @ Duke blog got our attention. After using examples from campaign ads in the current Republican presidential primary to help clarify what he thinks qualifies as fair use, Kevin gets to the point. He focuses in on a “recent opinion from the General Counsel of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. The stance taken in this opinion addresses “whether it is fair use for patent examiners to provide unauthorized copies of research articles to patent applicants during the examination process.” The Patent and Trade Office thinks that it is. They claim that examination of “three of the fair use factors (purpose and character of the use, nature of the copyrighted work and market effect) favor that finding, while the remaining factor, amount, is neutral.” And perhaps even more “surprising”, the Patent and Trade Office “rejects consideration of a licensing market” as part of the market effect factor. Drawing comparisons to “the distribution of course readings to students enrolled in a particular course,” Kevin suggests that this opinion could serve as “an interesting precedent for academic cases” like the Georgia State copyright case.
Kevin also takes time to praise the recently released Code of Best Practices in Fair Use for Academic and Research Libraries. According to his analysis “the librarians who participated in the development of the Code provided a wonderful framework for good decision making…”
Kevin makes a number of other observations as well as providing some relevant links throughout the post making it well worth the read.