J.D. Lasica interviewed Jack Valenti for Engadget. Mr. Valenti is the outgoing president of the Motion Picture Association of America. In the interview, J.D. asked him if “consumers have a fair use right to remix a few seconds of a Hollywood movie into a home movie project?” Valenti could have said, “yeah, sure as long as it is for a home project that only a few people would see and which would not ever be used for a commercial purpose.” Instead he responded:
“There is no fair use to take something that doesn’t belong to you. That’s not fair use. If you’re a professor in a classroom, you show ‘Singing in the Rain’ to your class. You can fast forward it, and there’s no performance fee for that. That’s fair use. Now, fair use is not in the law. People are taking fair use and changing it to unfair use and claiming that it’s fair use.”
Okay, it’s time to check Valenti for senility. He’s saying ‘fair use is not in the law?’ Let me help you out Mr. Valenti. I know you are familiar with Congress, which is that big white structure in Washington with the dome top where all the important people that you’ve spent years lobbying work. Their ‘work’ is passing laws that get recorded in books that our entire populace is charged with having constructive notice of. For example, here is a law that seems to specifically provide for ‘fair use’ and says it is a limit on the exclusive rights of copyright holders.
I realize you aren’t surprised that I can find this law so easily since I’m a lawyer. But actually anyone could find this law pretty easily. Just enter this search term into Google: “fair use law copyright“. That law I just referenced is the first hit. Imagine that. Technology is pretty cool, isn’t it? I wonder when technology will come up with a solution to bullheadedness.
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