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Re: Stallman Admits to Copyright Infringement

Jimmy O'Regan wrote:
> On Tue, 16 May 2000, Paul Serice wrote:
> ) undermine the very law that protects so much?  (And, yes, letting
> ) anybody copy your records violates and undermines the very laws Debian
> ) has so much invested in -- at least in the United States.)
> No it does not. Copyright laws come with a clause for 'fair use' (which
> the newer laws seem to be trying to do away with), and non-commercial
> distribution of a copy of a copyrighted item falls under it. And this *is*
> in American law - http://www.loc.gov has everything you need to know about
> copyright law in America (and a lot you didn't :)

Thank you for the pointer to www.loc.gov.  There I found the
following under the FAQ for Copyright:

      47. How much of someone else's work can I use without getting

      Under the fair use doctrine of the U.S. copyright statute, it is
      permissible to use limited portions of a work including quotes,
      for purposes such as commentary, criticism, news reporting, and
      scholarly reports. There are no legal rules permitting the use
      of a specific number of words, a certain number of musical
      notes, or percentages of a work. Whether a particular use
      qualifies as fair use depends on all the circumstances.

No matter how broadly you read the "fair use" exception, it does not
cover Stallman's actions.  "Fair use" applies to copies that do not
take the essence of the work.  Making a complete and perfect copy of
the original by definition is not "fair use."  Furthermore, Stallman's
purpose in making the copy is not to help educate others on the
content of what he copied.

The fair use exception is extremely narrow.  Basically, if you think
about a standard college research paper and how the author of the
paper is required to have x-number of sources, then you pretty much
have exhausted fair use.

Paul Serice

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