52 J. Copyright Soc'y U.S.A. 345 (2004-2005)
Debunking Fair Use Rights and Copyduty under U.S. Copyright Law

handle is hein.journals/jocoso52 and id is 399 raw text is: DEBUNKING FAIR USE RIGHTS AND COPYDUTY UNDER
U.S. COPYRIGHT LAWt
by DAVID R. JOHNSTONE*
Meaningless, inconsistent, and inadequate statutory provisions,
ambiguous, erroneous, and conflicting decisions cover the law of
copyright with doubt, difficulties, and confusion. Some of the
evils which result from these causes are but seeming ones, which
disappear when explained, or lose their force when exposed.
- Opening lines of preface to Eaton S. Drone's A Treatise on
the Law of Property in Intellectual Productions in Great Britain
and the United States (1879).
INTRODUCTION
The Dictionary of Misinformation wisely cautions that There is much
misinformation about copyright.' This truth is as old as copyright itself,
and it is bound to be with us for the long term. Although timeless mythol-
ogy is not subject to copyright, copyright is susceptible to timeless mythol-
ogy. Users of copyrighted materials are too often misinformed about the
nature and boundaries of their prerogatives, vis-A-vis those of copyright
owners.
Will Rogers quipped, All I know is just what I read in the papers.2
Of course, there is nothing wrong with learning from the papers or other
literary works (on the contrary, that is exactly what they are for), but such
media are not immune to the hazards of inaccuracy on any subject, and
sometimes they incorrectly report on the systems of copyright law that
help to foster their very place in our society. Lately, misinformation about
copyright law has not been confined to the popular press. It now infects
any forum in which copyright matters are discussed, including classrooms,
courtrooms, and congressional hearing rooms.
tFor Harriette M. Turner (1909-2005)
*A.B., English, Colgate University, 1992; J.D., The State University of New York
at Buffalo Law School, 2001; L.L.M. (Intellectual Property Law), The George
Washington University Law School, 2004. The author wishes to thank Ralph
Oman, Eric Schwartz, and Shubha Ghosh for their helpful attention and advice
and, last but not least, Heidi S. Johnstone for so much encouragement and moral
support.
1 Tom BURNAM, THE DICTIONARY OF MISINFORMATION 54 (1975).
2 BARTLETT'S FAMILIAR QUOTATIONs 637 (Justin Kaplan ed., 16th ed. 1992).

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