What is the meaning of "fair use"? (3)
Further to Graeme Hart's post, this just to add my few cents on in-
"Christian, you really hit the nail squarely on the head in talking
about "fair use" - we all want to make the world a better place and
are happy when others use our work/writings - but it's not fair for
someone to take your material, repackage it and claim as their own
and then profit financially from your Intellectual Property."
If you are referring to publishers doing that, then it is surely a
Faustian bargain entered into freely by all parties - the writer gets
some benefits (reputation, tenure, whatever) and the publisher gets
some. This is not to say that the balance in rewards is always, or
ever, fair but, nevertheless, there is some kind of balance that is,
or should be, negotiable.
If, on the other hand, you are referring to someone misappropriating
authors' work/writings and benefiting illicitly from them. Then that
is of course an entirely different question, involving at very least
an infringement of the authors' moral rights, and at most an action-
able infringement of the authors' copyright.
In my view, copyright and the other elements of the intellectual
property arsenal have their benefits for developing countries, pro-
vided that developing countries make use of them to protect their own
intellectual property, and to access that of others. Having said
that, generalizations in this field are difficult, dangerous, and
quickly lead to fallacy. For example, there are different arguments
relating to software/open source and "copyleft" (all of which I
support). I also believe in a moral right to free access to "essen-
tial information" (as distinct from high-commercial-value proprietary
information)...but I'll stop there.
Chris Zielinski Director,
Health Information for Development project
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