A new study by the Center for Social Media at American University examines user-generated content with respect to copyright issues. The study was conducted by Center director Pat Aufderheide and Peter Jaszi, co-director of the law school’s Program on Information Justice and Intellectual Property. The study shows that many online videos using copyrighted material could be protected under fair use policies.
Fair use, a hotly debated concept that lacks clear guidelines, allows for the quoting of copyrighted material without asking permission or paying royalties. The study warns that perfectly legal and valuable social commentary might be curbed by major content holders' (Sony, NBC, Viacom, etc.) new practices for controlling piracy.
The Center for Arts Management and Technology will feature an interview with the lead investigators of this study on episode 35 (scheduled for release on Friday, February 8, 2008) of its Technology in the Arts podcast.