Fair Use Week begins Monday, February 25

Next week is Fair Use Week, a global celebration of our right to use in-copyright works for transformative, socially valuable new purposes like scholarship, criticism, and teaching. The UVA Library is celebrating this week by profiling some of the Wahoos who use fair use in their daily work, whether in teaching, research, or their own creativity.

""Today we are profiling Lauren Work, Digital Preservation Librarian at the UVA Library, who uses fair use in her work preserving vintage software and digital archives.

Copyright grants rights holders a limited set of exclusive rights to control the use of their works as an incentive for creativity, but it also grants the public rights to use these works without seeking permission when the use is fair. Fair use is a flexible right that can accommodate a wide variety of activities, so it can adapt to changing technology as well as shifting social and economic circumstances. This balance ensures that copyrights don’t burden the very creative and educational processes they were meant to encourage.

Lauren relies on fair use when she preserves digital archives that rely on vintage software. She describes the role of fair use in her practice this way:

“As a digital preservation librarian tasked with providing ongoing, authentic access to digital scholarly materials and digital archives over time, applying the principles of fair use is a daily practice. Some of the core tenets of digital preservation rely on fair use, for example the creation the multiple copies of at-risk materials to mitigate risk of catastrophic loss. Fair use also aids our leadership in the field when it comes to innovative digital preservation practice. Over the last year we have taken a leading role in software preservation as part of a six-member cohort of Libraries addressing the challenges of providing long term access to software-dependent cultural heritage. Fair use guidance, as well as legal success in 2018 in the form of DMCA exemptions for computer programs, has allowed us a clear legal framework within which to move forward with the work of digital preservation. Our latest project is the preservation of a digital archive of architectural designs created in out-of-print CAD software. Fair use gives us the confidence we need to preserve the designs and the software together, ensuring long-term access as technology continues to evolve.”

How do you use fair use in your daily life? An infographic from the Association of Research Libraries shows just how common fair use is in the daily life of the average college student.

If you have questions about fair use, the Library can help both with access to materials for your fair use projects and with information about how your fair use rights might help your project move past copyright hurdles. For more information, check out https://copyright.library.virginia.edu/.

During Fair Use Week we’ll be featuring members of the UVA community who use Fair Use in their daily work. Follow us on Twitter @UVALibrary or find us on Facebook for daily updates, and check back here for full profiles and more! 

Written by Brandon Butler, Director of Information Policy.

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