Fair use rules are under review by federal officials. The doctrine — title 17, U.S. code, section 107 in the copyright law — sets boundaries for the reuse of artists’ original works. The rules cover what and how copyrighted materials can be reused, with or without the permission of the creator. The doctrine may seem too vague or too restrictive, depending on your position in a copyright infringement dispute.
The U.S. Department of Commerce issued a paper last summer raising ideas about fair use changes that have more than one well-established musician upset. Steven Tyler, long-time front man for the rock band Aerosmith, recently delivered a written commentary to the government agency. At issue is the agency’s suggestion that fee-based compulsory licenses could be employed to permit the reuse of copyrighted work, minus an author’s permission.
Steven Tyler and several other high-profile musicians are against a rule change, which could mean an author has no say in the recycling of material, even when artists find the reuse objectionable. Tyler’s comments were accompanied by letters from other singers like Sting, Ozzy Osbourne and Britney Spears.