Fair Use Doctrine In Arizona And US Landmark Cases

Under the US copyright law, a concept known as “fair use” permits specific uses of protected works without the owner’s consent. This federal law applies in Arizona as well. Arizona evaluates fair use by considering each of the four elements listed in Section 107 of the U.S. Copyright Act:

Purpose and Character of Use

It is identified as transformative or commercial. Transformative uses are normally considered fair use. Here are the examples:

  • Criticism
  • Comment
  • News reporting
  • Teaching
  • Scholarship
  • Research

Nature of the Copyrighted Work

Copyrighted works can be factual or creative in nature. The use of factual works is normally considered as fair use. Using of highly creative or original works can be more complicated.

Quantity and Quality of the Portion Used

The amount and substantiality of the copyrighted material are evaluated. This is in comparison to the whole work. Thus, using small or less significant portions of the copyrighted work is more likely to be considered fair use.

Potential Market for or Value of the Copyrighted Work

This element evaluates the usage of copyrighted material:

  • The detrimental influence on the original work’s market
  • The prospective worth of the copyrighted work

Courts in Arizona employ these four elements to assess whether a specific use of copyrighted material is fair use. The analysis on a case-by-case basis. The unique facts and circumstances of each instance will be taking into consideration.

Several landmark cases influenced the interpretation and application of the fair use doctrine in the US. Here are a few famous examples:

Harper & Row v. Nation Enterprises (1985)

This case concerned the illegal publication of excerpts from former President Gerald Ford’s memoir. This appeared in The Nation magazine. The Supreme Court ruled it was not fair use for its commercial nature. The use of the “heart” of the copyrighted work could had harmed the potential market of the memoir.

Campbell v. Acuff-Rose Music, Inc. (1994)

The use of copyrighted material in parodies was discussed here. The Court determined that 2 Live Crew’s parody of “Pretty Woman” by Roy Orbison was fair use. The parody has a transformative quality. Its purpose and nature were considered.

Sony Corp. of America v. Universal City Studios, Inc. (1984)

This historic ruling affirmed the legitimacy of home video recording for home use in this “Betamax case”. The Supreme Court decided that the sale of videocassette recorders (VCRs) did not amount to contributory copyright infringement. These devices were capable of significant non-infringing uses. Time-shifting of television programs is an example.

Google LLC v. Oracle America, Inc. (2021)

The court discussed fair use in relation to software use. The Court highlighted the transformative character of Google’s usage and the significance of interoperability in the software industry. Google’s use of specific Java application programming interfaces (APIs) in its Android operating system qualified fair use.

Campbell v. Manning (1987)

This lawsuit concerned the use of copyrighted photographs in an art exhibition. The court ruled that the use of the photos was fair use. It has a transformative character. These factors did not harming the future market for the photographs and contributed to their transformative nature:

  • New expression
  • Meaning
  • Message

These decisions, among others, have served to develop and clarify the concepts of fair use in United States copyright law. There are elements in determining whether a specific use qualifies as fair use. It’s important to take into account below factors.

  • Purpose and character of the use
  • The nature of the copyrighted work
  • The amount and significance of the portion used
  • The impact on the potential market for the copyrighted work

Fair use doctrine is fluid, with no hard and fast rules or formulae for evaluating whether a certain usage is fair use. The courts analyze and weigh the four elements listed above. There is no one aspect being determinative.

Understand what uses of copyrighted content are permissible. This is applicable for creators, educators, and other users of copyrighted content in Arizona.