Media Law Prof Blog

Editor: Christine A. Corcos
Louisiana State Univ.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

How Journalists Think About Fair Use

Patricia Aufderheide, American University School of Communication, Peter A. Jaszi, American University College of Law, Katie Bieze, Center for Social Media, and Jan Lauren Boyles, American University, have published Copyright, Free Speech, and the Public's Right to Know: How Journalists Think About Fair Use.

This study explores the problems that journalists face in employing the doctrine of fair use under copyright in their work. Journalists are key actors in the public sphere, because they create and circulate information for public knowledge and deliberation on public affairs, and shape knowledge and therefore expectations about the wider culture. To the extent that journalists inhibit their own performance because of copyright concerns, they limit their ability to perform that public sphere function. The study results from longform, open-ended interviews with 80 journalists in a variety of subject areas and on a range of media platforms. It finds significant evidence of delays, decisions to limit coverage and failure to disseminate on the basis of insecurity and misinformation about fair use. Journalists made aware of this problem took action to shape a set of principles interpreting their fair use rights.

Download the paper from SSRN at the link.

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