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Copyright Alert – Watch out for the smoke & mirrors of “Fair Use” - PPA Today

Copyright Alert – Watch out for the smoke & mirrors of “Fair Use”


Magicians dazzle their audience using the proverbial smoke and mirrors to enhance their tricks; some associations want to deceive you with the same. But these smoke and mirrors do not disguise fun, harmless tricks, they cover up a truth that is essential to photographers’ livelihoods: copyright.

We often have to cut through the smoke and mirrors that proponents of “Fair Use = Free Use” use to disguise their objectives (changing the public’s understanding of copyright and rewriting the law to reduce a copyright owner’s rights). Those who profit from reducing copyright protection try to convince the public and lawmakers that copyright is somehow outdated in the digital or Internet age. See the following two examples of how these organizations disguise their objectives

  • Last week the Computer and Communications Industry Association (CCIA) released a study claiming that Fair Use was critical to one-sixth of the US GDP. This study was part of an effort to push the boundaries of Fair Use.  PPA did its homework and was able to reveal how CCIA inflated the totals in their own study.
  • Jennifer Granick, Civil Liberties Director at the Electronic Freedom Foundation, used an article entitled “Free Speech Sometimes Trumps Copyright” (posted on Wired),commenting on a very narrow court case regarding the copyrights of foreign-made works prior to 1994. She used the article to push the idea that it should be okay to use any creative work when it is “prohibitively expensive to find” the copyright owner.

Fortunately, PPA and its allies in the Copyright Alliance are keeping their eyes and ears open for you. Find out more about protecting your own rights by reviewing the just-updated Copyright Kit in the Members-Only area at To see PPA’s response to this latest barrage, click here.

Copyrights are important to our members, which makes them important to PPA. Together we will remind Congress that theft is theft, stealing is stealing and wrong is wrong…no matter how it is labeled or disguised.

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This page contains a single entry by published on September 20, 2007 10:35 AM.

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