I did quite a lot of research on this once from a teaching angle to see how different countries interpret the legislation - most of which stems from the Berne convention. I wrote it up in an article on Teflpedia which gives some idea of the differing ways in which the law is applied internationally.--BobNot Jim 14:12, 23 October 2009 (UTC)
- I added it under "see also" because it's quite interesting and relevant. bomination 16:26, 23 October 2009 (UTC)
Legal advice on page
it's best to avoid claiming fair usage unless you have first received specialist legal advice.
I really came here to find out about RationalWiki policy on fair use, but the legal advice above is horseshit. The imagined legal consequences are a bit like saying, "Don't touch metal railings, you might be struck by lightning."
First of all, RationalWiki has no risk from claimed fair use under the following conditions:
- It is nonprofit.
- As an organization, it does not itself create or encourage an infringing usage.
- It responds promptly to a take-down notice. For true fair use, those will be rare as hen's teeth.
Secondly, the user, with images, has no significant risk if the user has used the fair use rationale template for images, and the claims in it are not ludicrous, but possible under some reasonable interpretation. Exceptions:
- The user is deliberately attempting to harm the owner, to defeat copyright.
- Actual harm is being caused.
- The user has deep pockets and the owner is unusually likely to sue. And is a lawyer. Absent false claim in a fair use template, losing the suit would be very unlikely, if the user hires a lawyer to defend -- or is a lawyer or equivalent. But it could be expensive anyway. The claim about whoever has the highest paid lawyer is pseudorational nonsense, though.
There is no protection if there is a deliberate attempt to harm or truly defeat copyright. For safety, fair use images should always be accompanied whatever information is available about ownership, and by a reference to the source, and a defense will then exist that the usage actually helps the owner, contrary to injuring the owner. The reference will also make it easier for an owner to find the usage and complain, and thus, again, shows lack of intention to harm.
I'm *not* an expert on fair use, but have worked with the WikiMedia Foundation's policy, which is much more stringent than legal requirements, and the reason is not about protecting the WMF, it is about a goal of "free content." So fair use is discouraged there, heavily, because it will make the job of a commercial, for-profit re-user more difficult, they may have to search for fair use templates and remove the images. Hence the policy is set up to require that no free equivalent be available, which is not a component of fair use law. A non-profit re-user of Wikipedia content would have the same protection as the WMF, so the policy is only about protecting for-profit re-users, requiring WMF users to do the work for them, finding free equivalents.
Bottom line, go ahead and use an image under fair use if you can improve content that way. I came here because I saw a user delete a bunch of images that were being used in an essay, and the images clearly improved the essay, it was interesting and educational with them, and only theoretically educational without them. Spoilsport. I wanted to investigate RationalWiki policy before getting involved. --Abd (talk) 14:48, 23 February 2012 (UTC)