Document Type


Publication Date

Spring 2010


Journal of the Copyright Society of the U.S.A.





First Page


Last Page



These days, I view fair use as a central feature of the law around our information ecology - its presence reminding us, from day to day, that there is more to copyright than maximization, and that innovation happens when the doctrinal settings are loose enough to permit a good deal of "play" (literally and figuratively) in the system. But before the mid-1990s I thought little about the fair use doctrine and did less. As I suspect may be true of other copyright lawyers of my generation (and the ones preceding it, I spent most of my professional career taking fair use for granted. I tended to view it as a minor application "running in the background" - occasionally useful, but hardly central to the copyright enterprise.' As a result, I gave it little sustained attention, either as a matter of theory or as one of practice, in my first decades as a practitioner and a teacher.



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