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What do you need to know about the fair use theory in copyright law?

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Fair use is a legal exception to a creator’s rights  allows certain copyrighted content to be used without the author’s permission. The fair use notion helps to avoid a stringent interpretation of copyright law. Which would be counterproductive to the basic aim of copyright, which is to encourage invention. Let’s take a look at Copyright Fair Use.

Copyright refers to an author’s, artists, composers, or other creators’ inherent right to control the use of their work. A copyrighted work may not be duplicated, disseminated, or appropriated by others without the author’s permission. Furthermore, the creator has control over the Work’s public presentation or performance.

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As courts endeavored to establish a compromise between copyright owners’ rights and society’s wish to allow limited copying, the notion of fair use arose. This philosophy is founded on the notion that not all copying should be prohibited, particularly in socially significant endeavors such as criticism, news reporting, education, and research.

The Copyright Act now codifies the concept of fair use first established by the courts. Four considerations must be examined when determining whether an action is a fair use under the Act. Some of these variables are as follows:

The aim and nature of the user, such as whether it is commercial or educational:

The way the party alleging fair use is using the copyrighted Work is taken into account by the courts, and nonprofit educational and noncommercial uses are more likely to be determined to be fair. This is not to suggest that all nonprofit educational and noncommercial uses are fair, or that all commercial uses are unjust; rather, courts will consider the purpose and type of the user in conjunction with the other factors indicated below. Furthermore, applications that are “transformative” are more likely to be seen positively. Transformative uses provide something new to the Work, such as a new purpose or character, rather than replacing the Work’s original purpose or character.

  • The copyrighted Work’s nature:

This component evaluates how well the Work used relates to copyright’s objective of encouraging creative expression. As a result, claiming fair use for more artistic or speculative Work (such as a novel, film, or song) is less likely than claiming fair use for real Work (such as a technical article or news item). Furthermore, the use of unpublished work is less likely to be considered fairly.

  • About the complete copyrighted Work, the amount and quality of the component copied:

In this regard, courts assess both the quantity and quality of copyrighted material used. Fair use is less likely to be found when a large portion of the Original Work is used; fair use is more likely when only a small quantity of copyrighted material is used. Some courts, however, have found that using a whole work is permitted under specific circumstances. In other situations, it was found that using even a small section of a copyrighted work was not fair because the selection was a significant part of the Work—the “heart” of it.

  • The effect of the use on the copyrighted Work’s potential market or value:

In this case, the courts assess whether and to what extent the unlawful use affects the copyright owner’s original Works. Courts consider whether the use hurts the existing market for the original Work (for example, by replacing genuine sales) and if it has the potential to cause considerable harm if it spreads widely.

Issues that will be made final by the court

Depending on the circumstances, the Court may consider other considerations in evaluating a fair use claim in addition to those listed above. Fair use allegations are judged on a case-by-case basis, with each case’s outcome determined by a fact-specific examination. It suggests that there is no formula to ensure that a certain proportion or amount of Work—or a certain number of words, lines, pages, or copies—may be used without permission.

The Supreme Court decided that Google re-implemented the Java user interface, taking only what was essential to allow outside developers to work in a new and transformative mobile smartphone program in Google LLC v. Oracle America, Inc., No. 18-956, 593 U.S. (Apr. 5, 2021). As a matter of law, Google’s usage of the Sun Java API was fair use.

In Rogers v. Koons, 960 F.2d 301, an artist used a copyrighted photograph as the foundation for wood sculptures, meticulously replicating every original characteristic. He made a lot of money from the sculptures he sold. The Court had to determine if the defendant’s use of the plaintiff’s photo to create sculptures was legal.

The Court rejected the defendant’s position, saying that because the defendant’s Work was largely commercial, “the possibility for future injury to plaintiff’s image is anticipated, and the market for plaintiff’s work has been harmed.”

Article 23 of the UAE Copyright Law categorizes reproduction of the Work as ‘fair use,’ with the condition that the reason for copyrighted work copying is justified. The author cannot prevent a copyrighted Work from being published in newspapers, journals, or broadcasting companies if it falls into one of the following categories:

  1. Extracts from current events

Copyright infringement does not apply to extracts from current-events publications that have been made legally available to the public. The Work’s originator and the creator must be identified.

  1. Publication of Debate

Infringement of copyright does not apply to published writings debating issues that influenced public opinion at the time. It’s also critical to provide credit to the article’s author and source.

  1. Current-events reporting

During general sessions of Parliament, judicial bodies, and public assemblies, speeches, lectures, and addresses are delivered. The press is given access to the talks, lectures, and addresses, which are then used in current news coverage.

If you want to use copyrighted work that you didn’t produce, we strongly advise you to seek legal advice first. Contact us today to learn more about the Fair Use Doctrine. You may take our selected lawyers in Dubai for help in order to avoid any legal issues

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