Fair use is the doctrine that exempts or allows a limited use of owners’ copyrighted work without his or her permission. This doctrine applies when the existing work is used for purposes of parody, criticism, teaching, research, or scholarship. To ascertain the grounds for fair use, Section 107 under the copyright law of the U.S. (Hathcock 1) outlines four factors that are essential for this claim. The first factor is the purpose of the use, followed by the nature of the work under copyright, then the amount and substantiality, and finally the effect of the existing material on the potential market. These factors are applied mutually rather than independently for a claim to suffice fair use.
Fair use has changed and expanded the body of knowledge in different fields of study such as the scholarly, entertainment, and art world. As a result, the exclusive rights that confined the existing work only to copyright owners over the years has been expanded to include ordinary individuals for the betterment of the society. The proliferation of technological advancements in the recent years has caught wind of the copyright law with digitized technologies such as the Digital Rights Management that seek to immerse fair use into an encrypted world. Even though there exist varied antithetical arguments against DRM and its relevance to fair use, the importance of both fair use and DRM cannot be wiped out entirely.
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