Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Copyright Office Clarifies Fair-Use Rules

Yesterday, the US Library of Congress which oversees the Copyright Office handed down some decisions in favor of the Electronic Frontier Foundation's appeals regarding cell phones and fair use. The decisions mean that iPhone owners can now jailbreak their phones (the ruling isn't limited to iPhones, but iPhones were mentioned because Apple was opposed to the ruling). Here's an excerpt from the decision:
"When one jailbreaks a smartphone in order to make the operating system on that phone interoperable with an independently created application that has not been approved by the maker of the smartphone or the maker of its operating system, the modifications that are made purely for the purpose of such interoperability are fair uses."

Another decision announced yesterday makes it easier for people to create remix videos under the guidelines of fair-use. The Copyright Office declared that amateur remix artists don't violate DMCA rules when the use short excerpts from DVDs (or video cassettes if you can find one these days) to create new, noncommercial works for the criticism or critique.

Read more about these decisions in this EFF article. Read the full transcript of the decisions from the Copyright Office here (opens as PDF).

Applications for Education
These decisions from the Copyright Office mean that teachers and students can use, reuse, and remix materials with fewer worries of violating copyright rights.

Here are some related items that may be of interest to you:
Comprehensive Lesson Plans for Teaching Copyright
Creative Thinking - Lessons About Copyright
Copyright for Educators