What Is the Connection between Fair Use and Intellectual Property?


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Fair use and intellectual property have an important correlation in that fair use only exists to ensure that violations of intellectual property do not occur. The copyright protections keep others from copying work, but there are certain stipulations called fair use that permit others to use portions of the book or other written creation depending on the actions of the individual.

Intellectual property is protected from others copying, distributing, selling and reproducing the items. When it comes to keeping within the law, there are a variety of ways that the individual is able to fairly use the IP without infringing upon the rights of the owner. With copyright material, this comes through certain rules that have been applied for non-owners of the written work. However, these must be utilized in accordance with the stipulations in place. For the person seeking to use IP such as a book or short story, he or she must ensure that these rules are followed to the letter to avoid violations.

Fair use is when the protections have certain rules such as for school or educational purposes that permit the individual or group to use copyright or other IP materials without purchasing them or buying only one copy and sharing with the organization. Other terms of fair use may constitute obtaining a license, providing ideas for the work and numerous other items. When the individual has taken part in the conditions explained by fair use, he or she is not violating the protections in place for intellectual property, and unless additional factors exist, he or she will not face litigation for these actions.

What Is Fair Use and How Does It Work?

Fair use applies to copyright material that has been copied or used for a limited purpose. This may include comments, criticism, a parody or similar actions. When the activity falls within fair use, the copyright owner does not need contact or to give permission to the person or group. When reproducing content in this manner, it is not an infringement and cannot be construed as any type of violation against the owner. However, sometimes these ways of protecting others from infringement cases could lead to complications. When the owner feels the action was a violation, a lawyer usually pursues this action and examines it closely.

The complications that arise through fair use are due to free speech and the interpretation of what is considered fair use. To place a copyright material into a fair use situation, a teacher may acquire some of a larger work and educate his or her students about the work. This purpose bypasses the protections, and it is considered fair use. These actions could be considered comments or criticism. Others may base their new work on the copyright material, but it could constitute a parody. While these definitions change and alter over time, fair use may permit posting of original work online provided there is a basis such as commenting, creating or using it as a parody or to detail criticism.

The Connection Explained

When fair use is utilized by a person, he or she is safe from legal action. However, defining what is fair use is complicated and often difficult. Because of this, if the individual does not follow the specific rules as detailed by IP protections for copyright works, he or she could face civil litigation. Free speech and the regulations governing these rights provided to United States citizens permit the use of words in life. For the average person, this provides a way for him or her to express feeling, emotion and thought. By borrowing from previously written works, he or she may then go on to create something new. However, if the heart of a book, screenplay or manuscript has been stolen in this manner, he or she is violating copyright laws.

The laws surrounding intellectual property limit what may be used by others with current and past copyrights and patents. The protections placed on these original or newer works inhibits what is produced by others. However, when using only a thread of IP for inspiration, it may be possible for others to imagine new inventions or works.

Lawyers Protecting IP

When fair use has not been applied to the situation, the individual may have violated IP. Because of these actions, the original work has been stolen, distributed without a license and similar actions. Then, it is important to have an IP lawyer to pursue action for a remedy or compensation.

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Disclaimer: While every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of this publication, it is not intended to provide legal advice as individual situations will differ and should be discussed with an expert and/or lawyer.

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