Fairer Uses

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Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International

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Boston University School of Law




A response to Professor Joseph Liu’s paper on Fair Use, Notice Failure, and the Limits of Copyright as Property, this essay challenges Professor Liu to go even farther in his analysis and protection of the everyday audience of copyright works. In describing and analyzing what I term “fairer uses” on the basis of qualitative data from interviews of artists and authors who make and rely on copyrighted works for their own creativity and professional well-being, I support Professor Liu’s advocacy for maintaining “fuzzy boundaries” of fair use. Based on evidence from grounded practice of professional creators, their expansive application of fair use evidences a higher tolerance for infringement, a desire for fair remuneration as a dignitary matter rather than to satisfy investment-backed expectations, and overall “reasonableness” in the application of copyright law. As Liu documents, in the digital age more than ever “fairer uses” are more critical to fomenting creativity, self-expression and market-innovation of copyrighted works.

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