How does US ‘fair use’ work for fans and journalists?
THE NUJ has of late had to make the case that the appealingly-labelled US legal doctrine of "fair use" is anything but fair. In UK law, the circumstances in which work can be used without asking are covered by the relatively well-defined rules of "fair dealing" - whereas "fair use" is a set of very general principles.
The NUJ - and the Creators' Rights Alliance - quote, for example, a study commisisoned by the British Copyright Council that shows that it can easily cost $1M in legal fees to find out whether a particular use is "fair" in US law. That would suit corporations with deep pockets - such as Google, perchance - that are lobbying for "fair use" in Europe, using the UK and Ireland as beach-heads.
How does it work on the ground, though? The US Poynter Institute has produced a useful roundup - taking in the growing practice of event organisers demanding that journalists assign copyright in images and sounds that they capture. See the link below.