Best Practices in Fair Use

copyrightThe Center for Media and Social Impact has released two important new statements of best practices in fair use. The Code of Best Practices in Fair Use for Academic and Research Libraries has, since its release in 2012, become an important guide for use of copyrighted materials by libraries. The new statements deal with Fair Use of Orphan Works by Libraries and Archives and Fair Use for the Visual Arts.

The statement on Orphan Works frames the issue:

Memory institution professionals commonly manage collections containing materials that are, practically speaking, impossible to identify and seek copyright permission for, item by item. If they fail to address copyright clearance issues, they could compromise their institutions’ public missions. Nevertheless, faithful representation of a collection in its entirety could be critical to fulfilling an institution’s missions to preserve the past and to make research materials available, including online.

These documents provide expert, well-reasoned guidance. They are also important in recording and establishing the consensus of practitioners in their fields.