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Fair use scenario - Tony's podcasts


In a continuing series of scenarios that explore educational fair use issues.

Tony, a high school librarian, would like to read short excerpts from books and use them to accompany podcast reviews on his blog. He reasons that printing excerpts from books is allowable under fair use exceptions for criticism. The excerpts would only be two or three paragraphs from novel-length works, each chosen to reinforce a point made in the review. He is confident that this use meets all of the fair use tests (financial impact, educational use, etc.),  but Tony worries that changing the format from print to audio is changing the game.

  1. What is the copyrighted material? Who owns it?
  2. Does the use of the work fall under fair use guidelines? Is the use transformational in nature? Can this be considered "educational" use?
  3. What is your level of comfort helping with this event? Are there any changes or limits you might like to see that would make you more comfortable?

Your level of comfort with this use of copyrighted materials: High 5 4 3 2 1 Low

You comments are most welcome.

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Reader Comments (7)

This gives me no discomfort. Educational, promoting reading and the book ( maybe even sales). I see no problem with changing from print to audio.

December 5, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterJoan Tracy

I agree with Joan. While the transformative piece makes me look twice, I am comfortable with the rest. The blog reviews are assisting in his educational goals of encouraging self selection, reading for enjoyment, internalizing and reviewing literature and more. Using even less of the book than would be allowed in print would showgood faith intention of following the concept of the fair use guidelines.

My only caveat would be that the review could not be kept beyond the school year without the permission of the copyright holder.

Comfort level = 4

December 6, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterLinda Dierks

I would be 100% ok with this scenario. A podcast review is essentially a radio review, which is done all the time with no royalties required (and saved later as a podcast), and even the switch from print to audio doesn't bother me. It's not the same as changing the medium of the entire work, and if it is "transformative," well, isn't that part of fair use? To transform the work into something else?

Level of comfort - 5

ps -- Thank you for this series. It's helpful and thought-provoking.

December 8, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterAnna Watkins

Thanks, everyone, for weighing in on this one.


December 10, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterDoug Johnson

We think its ok for him to record. he is not reading the whole book, just using a small exerpt and using it for an educational purpose on his blog. not for promoting anything

September 30, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterCPSC 109

I would not have a problem with this since it is transformative in nature.

September 30, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterRick Snoeyink

We do not believe that Tony's use of the excerpts is against the fair use guidelines. According to the Copyright and Fair Use guidlines for teachers, as long as it is not more than one chapter from a novel per podcast, then it would be fine.

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