A CDE Definition
fair use doctrine
An exception within the U.S. copyright law that allows excerpts from copyrighted material to be quoted and used in another publication. For example, a paragraph excerpted from a book would be considered fair use as long as the original work is cited. However, if a poem in its entirety is only one paragraph, or as in the case with this publication, a definition in its entirety is only one paragraph, copying that one paragraph without permission is copyright infringement, not fair use.
Fair use may be legally interpreted on a case-by-case basis. For example, years ago in the Betamax litigation regarding videotaping, the court stated it was fair use to copy an entire movie for the purpose of watching it later.
How We Employ Fair Use
In this encyclopedia, we use images of vendor products under the fair use doctrine, because the image is already displayed on the vendor's public website and is available to everyone. Most importantly, our image caption explains what the product is and where it came from. However, if an image from a vendor's site were copied without permission for use as a background on another website or in an advertisement for another product or service, it would not be fair use.
Around the World
The U.S., Canada, Israel and South Korea have fair use policies. The rest of the world varies greatly with respect to the subject. See copyright.
The legal ownership of a "work," which can take any of the following forms: written text, program source code, graphics images, sculpture, music, sound recording, motion picture, pantomime, choreograph and architecture. Before January 1, 1978, a work had to be published to be copyrighted. After that date, any work expressed in paper or electronic form is automatically copyrighted for the life of the author plus 70 years. Registration with the Copyright Office is not required, although it is beneficial if there are disputes later on. In the U.S., a copyright symbol is not mandatory, but recommended.
For works by an anonymous author or an author who uses a fictitious name (pseudonymous) as well as works "made for hire," such as a publication written by an employee of a company, the copyright lasts 120 years from date of creation or 95 years from date of publication, whichever is shorter. For more information, visit www.copyright.gov. See plagiarism, fair use doctrine, Creative Commons, copyleft, trademarks, DRM and image protection.
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